CHEYENNE, Wyo. | More strong wind threatened to make the biggest wildfire in Colorado history even worse after a brief lull.
Gusts up to 60 mph (100 kilometers per hour) Friday and Saturday could complicate efforts to protect homes south of the Cameron Peak Fire in the forested mountains west of Fort Collins, firefighters said.
“Today is a very critical fire weather day. We’re going to do the best we can to keep the fire from moving south,” fire operations section chief Paul Delmerico said Friday.
The 260-square-mile (675-square-kilometer) fire east of Rocky Mountain National Park set Colorado’s size record after strong winds Tuesday night and Wednesday morning caused it to grow by more than 40 square miles (104 square kilometers).
Officials evacuated homes in and near the sprawling cabin communities of Glen Haven and Drake south of the fire.
The fire sent thick smoke into Fort Collins and prompted evacuations all the way to Horsetooth Reservoir on the city’s western edge. Partly because of the reservoir, the city of 168,000 wasn’t considered at risk.
Twenty-five miles (40 kilometers) to the north, firefighters were also watching the windy forecast at the Mullen Fire on the Colorado-Wyoming line. The fire has grown little this week despite the recent wind.