By Logan Smith

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — A century-old Colorado State University research facility located in the high country west of Fort Collins is now surrounded by the Cameron Peak Fire on three sides.

The CSU Mountain Campus is also cut off from further help because the wildfire’s northeast finger has crossed the only access into the facility. A National Park Service spokesman, Chuck Russell, confirmed the fire jumped Pingree Park Road on Monday.

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Two prongs of the fire have grown considerably over the holiday weekend, as noted by Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.

“Up until now,” Smith said during a Monday afternoon press conference, “we hadn’t gotten to the point where it’s really running.”

A map of Cameron Peak Fire a week after its discovery in August. (credit: Cameron Peak Wildfire/Facebook)

The Cameron Peak Fire has tripled in size in a matter of days. As of mid-day Monday, it stood at 89,312 acres in size. It measured just over 23,000 last Thursday.

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A map of the Cameron Peak Fire as measured Monday morning. (credit: Cameron Peak Wildfire/Facebook)

That Thursday, mandatory evacuations along Pingree Park Road had been downgraded by the sheriff to voluntary.

Personnel evacuated the campus on Aug. 13th, the day firefighters began arriving to fight the blaze located approximately 10 miles to the west of the facility.

Monday afternoon, CSU President Joyce McConnell sent a letter to the entire university: “I ask all of you to please send thoughts to the incredibly courageous, dedicated people who are working to control the fire and protect our community at tremendous risk to themselves.”

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The CSU Mountain Campus is a base camp for field studies and research, and also host educational conferences during the summer months. The first academic course there was taught in 1915.

Logan Smith