LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – On Highway 34 just outside of Loveland, cars lined up trying to get into the Big Thompson Canyon. Those that didn’t have an escort were forced to turnaround.

Bill Carl owns The Dam Store just a few miles passed the road block at Larimer County Road 29. The iconic shop is now in a mandatory evacuation zone as the Cameron Peak Fire continues to grow.

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“It’s within miles right now,” he said.

Carl says for years the gift shop has been a last stop for travelers headed up the canyon. He’s hoping that will continue for years to come.

“We are near the river, and we did a lot of wildfire mitigation over the years so we are feeling not too bad, but you never know,” he said.

A big part of the uncertainty for Carl and other evacuees comes with the powerful wind gusts.

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“It’s peaked my anxiety about 200% higher than it was 24 hours ago because I realize we are trying to survive the next six to eight hours,” evacuee Cody Muchow said.

Muchow and his family left their home at the base of storm on Friday afternoon.

“If the structure can be saved it will be because of fire officials, not luck. Unfortunately luck isn’t on our side anymore,” Muchow said.

They are now among the hundreds of people who have turned to the American Red Cross for a safe place to stay while they watch and hope from afar.

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“I see for the first time in my life how important an organization like that is and they are really taking care of a lot of people on that mountain,” he said.

The Red Cross will continue to open more shelters as more people are evacuated, but they say they could always use more volunteers.

If you would like to volunteer with the Red Cross, email joshua.stewart@redcross.org.

Karen Morfitt

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