FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- The High Park Fire is 100 percent contained. This just hours after fire officials lifted all evacuations and opened all roads in the High Park Fire area at noon Saturday.
That includes Highway 14 in the Poudre Canyon.
Full containment of the High Park Fire was much earlier than expected as fire crews made progress on the fire burning west of Fort Collins.
The 136-square mile fire was 97 percent contained Saturday morning. It killed one resident and destroyed 259 houses, a state record until a fire near Colorado Springs destroyed 346 homes two weeks later.
Crews did discover two additional homes burned bringing the total number of homes destroyed in the fire to 259. Unfortunately that number is expected to increase as fire crews search previously off-limits areas.
About 1,900 people were allowed to return to their homes in Rist Canyon Thursday evening. Some found their homes intact others discovered the devastation the fire left in its wake.
Until Saturday, all but 350-400 evacuees have been allowed to return home.
The fire has burned 87,284 acres since it was started by lightning on June 9.
Although all roads have been opened, certain access and recreation restrictions apply:
- The Pingree Park, Upper Buckhorn, Monument Gulch, and Rist Canyon neighborhoods will be restricted to residents only. Residents should be prepared to show identification at checkpoints. Monument Gulch residents are asked to enter using Pingree Park Road instead of Buckhorn Road.
- In the lower Poudre Canyon (Hwy 287 to Pingree Park Road), recreational access is limited to river access only. Trailheads, campgrounds, and picnic areas remain closed. Hiking and dispersed camping is prohibited throughout the Lower Poudre Canyon.
- In the upper Poudre Canyon, limited camping opportunities will begin Monday. Dispersed camping along Pingree Park Road is prohibited. Contact the U.S. Forest Service for specific information on closures and restrictions at www.fs.usda.gov/arp.
- Fire danger remains very high. Larimer County and U.S. Forest Service fire restrictions remain in effect and citizens are reminded to be cautious and vigilant while in recreational areas.
- Drivers should stay alert for frequent fire traffic, debris flows with ash from thunderstorms, rocks that have rolled onto roads, and other distracted drivers.
A closure order remains in effect on a portion of the Roosevelt National Forest west of Fort Collins due to conditions created by the High Park Fire.
The High Park Fire burned more than 42,000 acres of National Forest System lands and continues to smolder.
“Visitor safety is our highest priority,” Forest Supervisor Glenn Casamassa said. “The majority of campgrounds and recreation areas remain closed and general Forest use is still prohibited within and surrounding the High Park Fire perimeter. Until a full safety assessment has been conducted and hazards are mitigated, these restrictions will remain in place. Hazards include falling branches or trees, rolling rocks, landslides and contaminated water.”