ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators believe the quickly-growing Kruger Rock Fire burning in Estes Park was ignited by power lines. CBS4’s Dillon Thomas was first to report the information, confirmed by Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.

(credit: CBS)

In his first interview since the fire started Smith said the fire grew to more than 75 acres in just a matter of hours, and spread from Kruger Rock into the Hermit Park Open Space.

Smith said the fire is spitting in Hermit Park and is threatening structures. However, no structures have burned as of the posting of this article.

LINK: Larimer County Kruger Rock Fire Info Website

Heavy winds are pushing the fire, with flames torching trees and reaching more than 50 feet into the sky.

Kruger Rock Fire

(credit: Evan Schaefer)

Smith said there are concerns that the blaze will hop US 36 heading east. Just before 11 a.m. authorities closed Highway 36 from the eastern part of Estes Park to the western edge of Lyons as a precaution.

It is too windy for an aerial attack, but a plane flies being used to monitor the fire from above.

Residents told CBS4 they spent their morning packing belongings and evacuating. One man said the last thing he did before interviewing with CBS4 was to take photos of all of the rooms in his house for insurance purposes, fearing the worst.

The Estes Park Event Center located at 1125 Rooftop Way is functioning as an evacuation center.

The Kruger Rock Fire was first reported just before 7 a.m.

Dillon Thomas