Drought/precipitation news: Rain reported in Fort Collins, Weber Fire at 7,000 acres #CODrought

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Pat Ferrier):

The fire claimed 80 structures — 57 homes — in Glacier View Meadows subdivision and the Deer Meadows area northwest of Fort Collins when it ripped through the area Friday.

Residents learned the fate of their homes on Sunday during a meeting for evacuees at The Ranch in Loveland. No homes burned in Glacier View’s 10th and 11th filings or in filings 1-8.

Glacier View’s 12th filing suffered the bulk of the losses.

Crews previously confirmed that 191 homes had been destroyed by the fire. Friday’s destruction brings that toll up to 248 homes. No structures or homes were damaged on Saturday, incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said in a media briefing Sunday morning.

Sunday night, the skies above Fort Collins opened up, pouring rain — and accompanying lightning — down on the area. The squall’s effects on the fire won’t be fully known until the morning, when it will be easier to see where rain helped firefighters and where smoke from lightning will signal more work.

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From the Associated Press via The Pueblo Chieftain:

A wildfire near Colorado Springs erupted and grew out of control to nearly 6 square miles early Sunday, prompting the evacuation of more than 11,000 residents and an unknown number of tourists. On Saturday, a blaze destroyed 21 structures near the mountain community of Estes Park, where many visitors stay while visiting the park…

Also Sunday, a brushfire that began near Elbert, about 50 miles southwest of Denver, quickly spread to about 60 acres, forcing the evacuation of about 100 residents.

Half the nation’s firefighting fleet is now battling fires in Colorado, said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. C-130 military transport planes from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs would begin assisting today. With eight wildfires burning, including a fire that has scorched more than 118 square miles and destroyed at least 191 homes near Fort Collins, Colorado is having its worst wildfire season in a decade.

From The Durango Herald via the Cortez Journal (Shane Benjamin). Click through for the photo essay. Here’s an excerpt:

Conditions were preventing the Weber Fire from advancing on U.S. Highway 160 on Sunday evening, instead pushing the 7,000-acre blaze northwest and away from the town of Mancos. The hot, dry conditions were far from favorable, but they so far had failed to produce the manic growth firefighters feared…

The Type 3 team fighting the blaze was being replaced Sunday evening with a federal Type 2 team, which is larger and better equipped to wage a long-term and sophisticated attack on a complex wildland fire like Weber…

The possibility that the fire could jump U.S. Highway 160 continued to be one of officials’ top concerns. At Mancos Hill on Sunday evening, the fire was holding at about three-quarters of a mile south of the highway. The north side of the highway is more densely vegetated – and more populated…

Fire officials said the fire was moving down Menefee Mountain toward Mancos. This, actually, was good news because it was moving into an area where they can better attack it.

From the Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jordan Steffen/Kirk Mitchell):

An Estes Park cabin caught fire just after noon Saturday, sparking a wildfire that quickly grew to 20 acres in the hot and dry weather and consumed 21 homes and cabins…

Estes Park fire chief Scott Dorman said during an evening briefing for evacuees that the fire had “settled a bit.” Engines will remain on the fire, which he described as in a “mop up” stage. Crews still are waiting for gas lines to be shut off in the area. Some residents reported hearing explosions.

From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

The Weber Fire, burning in bone-dry southwest Colorado, grew to almost 8,000 acres by Sunday night, but at last reports, hadn’t burned any structures. The fire is burning near the towns of Mancos and Cortez, west of Durango, Colorado…

According to a late-breaking story from the Four Corners Free Press, the fire had reached 8,000 acres by late in the day. According to the story, the incident commander said the fire was still spreading rapidly in all directions. Read the full story here.

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