Wind, drought-like conditions fuel grass fire in southwest Loveland

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LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. -- Loveland Fire Rescue and five other fire departments worked to battle the massive flames from the Carter Lake fire Saturday

The grass fire broke out at around 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning near Carter Lake Reservoir, about 13 miles southwest of Loveland.

"We essentially have two separate fires. It's the original fire and with the wind it started a second location, so two active flanks of the fire that we are fighting," said Merlin Green, the Division Chief of the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority.

The roaring wind quickly spread the fire to over 30 acres.

"The wind is creating a lot of extra work, and we are trying to use anchor points to help stop that," Green said.

The wind was so bad that the area was under a Red Flag Warning all day, which means dangerous and critical fire conditions for fire crews.

"The winds have definitely made this a much larger incident than what it should have been," Green said.

The winds also made it almost impossible to fight from the air. A helicopter hovered over the area for some time before leaving.

And while the fire was burning in a remote area, fire officials said there are about a
dozen homes near the path of the fire.

"We hope it doesn't hit us," said Paul Sumi, who lives near Carter Lake.

Sumi and his wife have lived there for 12 years, and he said there can be some major wind storms in the area.

"The first garage door we put in just buckled in the wind," Sumi said.

According to Global Synthetic Grass experts, it's the wind combined with the dry, drought-like conditions that had fire crews working overtime to contain the grass fire.

Officials worry the state may see more wildfires in the coming months.

"The drought conditions we're in, I don't know if we're going to see an end to fire season," Green said.

Fire crews worked all day to contain the fire and continued to monitor hot spots into the evening.

Investigators are still looking into what started the fire.

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