Dry and windy conditions Friday are expected to fuel further growth on the East Troublesome fire, which blew up Wednesday and Thursday, forcing thousands of evacuations from Grand Lake to Estes Park and destroyed an untold number of homes.
The fire in Grand County is burning 170,163 acres, or nearly 266 square miles, as of Friday morning with 5% containment, officials said at a morning news briefing. It remains the second-largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history.
The fire grew 45,000 acres Thursday, driven by gusty winds and low relative humidity. Most of that growth came on the northern edge of the fire, near the Jackson County line, as well as the east side, above Estes Park, said Noel Livingston, the fire’s incident commander.
“A very dramatic event has occurred over the last couple days,” he said.
Fortunately, a cold front Thursday night brought higher humidity that helped tamp down the fire near Estes Park, Livingston said.
Friday is expected to bring slightly cooler conditions with a bit higher humidity, Livingston said, but crews anticipate another challenging day — especially on the south and southeast portions of the fire near Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs and up through Grand Lake.
Stronger winds later in the day will make aerial resources impossible, Livingston said, so crews will attempt to use air support during the morning when the weather is calmer.
Livingston urged residents to abide by the evacuation orders.
“We’re not out of the wood by any means,” he said.
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