LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Cameron Peak Fire burning in Larimer County became the largest wildfire in Colorado history on Wednesday. It has now burned an estimated 164,140 acres and is 56% contained.
Colorado’s largest wildfires:
1. Cameron Peak – 164,140 acres
2. Pine Gulch in 2020 – 139,007
3. Hayman in 2002 – 137,760
4. Spring Creek in 2018 – 108,045
5. High Park in 2012 – 87,284
Officials said they dealt with wind gusts of about 60 miles per hour throughout the day on Wednesday.
The windy weather created extreme fire conditions for firefighters and forced additional mandatory and voluntary evacuations on Wednesday, including residents and businesses in Redstone Canyon.
“This really was almost an epic day for doing evacuations and again, for everybody that’s been moved, I know it’s extremely difficult,” officials said Wednesday night.
“We do know that we lost structures today and for anybody who is impacted, you know, our heart goes out to you.”
The Hutchinson family learned on Wednesday that they lost two cabins in the Buckhorn Canyon area, where they’ve owned land since the 1960s. An historic cabin and another they built there are gone.
The grandson of former mayor Doug Hutchinson, Parker, said, “The materials is one thing, but the amount of family heirlooms and just the memories of that area, they’ve been burned.”
Last year they buried his grandmother’s ashes in the meadow.
“That was her favorite place and that’s where she wanted to be when she passed on,” Parker told CBS4.
He and his grandfather will take a look at the chances of rebuilding, but the pain of the fire, is hard to bear.
“It’s just nature running its course and we were just in the crosshairs this time.”
Fire officials said it was a bad day, but very easily could have been a lot worse.
“We have no reported injuries, no deaths, a lot fewer structures were impacted that we truly anticipated,” officials said.
“Our plan for the next 24 to 48 hours, is to continue our primary objective of structure protection,” officials said. “We’ll be working to get folks back in as soon as possible.”
However, officials warned it could be days before some evacuees might be allowed to return home.
The smoke plume from the Cameron Peak Fire could be seen from Interstate 25 near Berthoud.