Cameron Peak Fire becomes largest in Colorado’s history


A still-raging Colorado wildfire has become the largest in state history, officials said.

Wind gusts as high as 76 mph this pushed the Cameron Peak Fire — which has already been burning for two months — to devastate an extra 23,000 acres by late Wednesday, The Denver Post said.

That took it to 158,300 acres, or about 247 square miles — beating the largest wildfire recorded in the state, the Pine Gulch, which reached 139,007 acres before it was fully contained in late September.

The Cameron Peak Fire ignited Aug. 13 and survived more than a foot of early September snowfall, the paper said.

It is 56% contained and has left towers of smoke billowing over Fort Collins and much of the northern Front Range, according to the report.

Wednesday’s growth led to new mandatory evacuation orders in the Larimer County foothills, including hundreds of mountain cabins.

“It was a bad day,” Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said at an evening briefing, saying they “lost structures today.”

“But it very easily could have been a lot worse,” he said, noting there were no reports of injuries or deaths.

Officials also fear it may grow, with strong winds also forecast Thursday and into Friday. “We’re not through this wave of activity yet,” incident commander Dan Dallas said.

Colorado is just one of a dozen Western states to have been devastated this year by wildfires that have broken numerous records, with some of the largest ever seen in California and Oregon.