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Colorado wildfire update: More residents allowed back after East Troublesome, Cameron Peak fires

Some residents displaced by the East Troublesome fire under mandatory evacuation orders are now being allowed back into their homes.

Areas on the westside of U.S. 34 around Grand Lake reopened Thursday morning, according to the Grand County Office of Emergency Management.

Some areas west of the highway, however, will remain closed as “firefighters, law enforcement, utility crews and Disaster Assessment Teams continue their work,” according to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.

Traffic and access control checkpoints will remain in place, residents going back in should have identification. Areas along Colorado 125 remain under mandatory evacuation orders, the sheriff’s office said.

The East Troublesome fire has burned 193,774 acres, almost 303 square miles, making it the second-largest wildfire in Colorado history. It is 30% contained.

The fire has slowed this week, with minimal if any growth, after snow fell over the entire fire on Sunday and Monday. Thursday’s forecast calls for sunny weather with high temperatures in the mid-30s in lower elevations of the fire zone.

The fire is expected to become more active as snow melts, fire officials said. The fire is smoldering in some areas, producing smoke plumes. An air quality alert was scheduled to expire at noon on Thursday.

At the Cameron Peak fire, burning in Larimer County, firefighters will fly over the CSU Mountain Campus and Comanche Reservoir on Thursday to assess the fire and develop plans going forward, fire officials said. Fire crews continue to scout road conditions in some areas with the intent of resuming direct fire suppression.

Evacuation orders have been loosening for the Cameron Peak fire as well. Paradise Park, County Road 27 and Buckhorn have gone from mandatory evacuation to voluntary status, said Capt. Joe Shellhammer at a Thursday morning briefing.

Residents going home should remain alert, Shellhammer said.

“This thing is still alive, we still have to pay attention to it,” he said. “There is still fire in there.”

The Storm Mountain area remains under mandatory evacuation, but residents have been allowed back in, with escorts of deputies and firefighters, to check on properties, Shellhammer said.

The Cameron Peak fire, the largest in state history, has burned 208,663 acres, or 326 square miles, since starting on August 13. The fire is 64% contained.

Wildfire map

Click markers for details, use buttons to change what wildfires are shown. Map data is automatically updated by government agencies and could lag real-time events. Incident types are numbered 1-5 — a type 1 incident is a large, complex wildfire affecting people and critical infrastructure, a type 5 incident is a small wildfire with few personnel involved. Find more information about incident types at the bottom of this page.

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