FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — The Cameron Peak Fire in Larimer County has grown to 158,300 acres — an increase of more than 20,000 acres compared to Tuesday — making it the largest wildfire in Colorado history.
The record was last broken just a few months ago, when the Pine Gulch Fire in western Colorado reached 139,007 acres.
The Cameron Peak Fire is 56% contained.
A new round of mandatory evacuations have gone out for areas north and west of Horsetooth Reservoir stemming from the wildfire.
The fire, which has been burning since mid-August, came roaring back Wednesday after a day of gusty winds and low humidity.
“This morning around three o’clock in the morning winds increased and at six o’clock this morning we had gusts up to 62 miles per hour,” Cameron Peak Fire public information officer Cass Cairns told FOX31.
The windy conditions pushed the fire to the east and south.
“This is why people are seeing the big column and lots of smoke out there. It’s extremely active out there right now,” Cairns said.
Wednesday afternoon, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office ordered mandatory evacuations for Lory State Park, Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, Masonville, Redstone Canyon and Horsetooth Mountain Park.
“It’s like the apocalypse. End of the world. That’s what it feels like,” Fort Collins resident Sean Conley said of the thick smoke.
Conley and his friends spent the afternoon photographing the smokey conditions near Horsetooth Reservoir.
“You can’t see more than a hundred yards in front of you almost. You’ve gotta have your headlights on at one in the afternoon or whatever time it is. It’s wild,” he said.