Weekend winds fueled a northern Colorado wildfire that emergency officials said has now damaged more structures and moved beyond barriers established by firefighters to slow the blaze’s spread.
The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said structure damage was reported Sunday from the Cameron Peak fire, the state’s third largest recorded wildfire.
The fire, burning west of Fort Collins in Larimer County, had burned 194 square miles — or more than 124,000 acres — as of early Sunday.
“We did have structure loss down on the Highway 14 corridor,” said Capt. Joe Shellhammer of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. “We did lose a few structures on the Manhattan Road and a few in Boy Scout Ranch Road.”
Shellhammer said officials hope to be able to contact property owners who lost homes or outbuilding on Monday morning or afternoon. He said firefighters protected many other structures from being destroyed.
On Sunday, the fire came through the Shambhala Mountain Center near Red Feather Lakes, according to the organization’s Facebook page. While some structures burned, the temple itself was protected.
Before a weekend windstorm caused the fire to grow, officials had already said 54 structures had been destroyed, including 25 homes.
The fire began Aug. 13 in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and was burning 25 miles east of Walden Sunday. Authorities believe it was human caused.
Officials said the fire grew Saturday by about 20,000 acres when winds reaching 60 mph caused the blaze to jump over fire lines, the gaps in combustible material made by firefighters meant to starve wildfires of fuel.
The fire was 21% contained Monday morning, officials said.
The good news is that colder weather arrived on Sunday and is expected to remain through the rest of the week, giving firefighters another chance stop the blaze from growing.
This story featured reporting from The Associated Press and The Colorado Sun.
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