Fire burning outside Estes Park in Colorado estimated at 147 acres with 100 percent containment Saturday

The Kruger Rock Fire near Estes Park had burned about 75 acres as of 10:00 AM on Tuesday morning.
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 8:05 AM MST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2021 at 10:12 PM MST
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ESTES PARK, Colo. (KKTV) - Battling gusty winds alongside towering flames, firefighters managed to get containment on an explosive wildfire burning just to the east of Estes Park.

As of the last report Sunday morning, the Kruger Rock Fire stands at 147 acres with 100 percent containment.

The fire ignited just before 7 a.m. Tuesday when winds knocked a tree into a power line near Little Valley Road and Fish Creek Road, located on the outskirts of town. Pushed by strong wind gusts and dry terrain, the fire from the moment it started posed an “immediate and imminent danger” and forced nearby residents to evacuate.

Flames loomed ominously over homes early on, as this video taken about 8 a.m. shows:

WATCH: Wildfire in Estes Paek

WATCH: Stunning video of the Kruger Rock Fire burning near Kruger Rock on the south side of Estes Park. Multiple neighborhoods are under mandatory evacuation. Just minutes ago, officials said the fire was 20 acres. Video courtesy of Elizabeth Butler Jameson.

Posted by KKTV 11 News on Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Driven by winds, the fire marched eastward, quintupling in size by lunchtime and reaching more than 100 acres by mid-afternoon. Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith told sister station CBS Denver that the fire had moved from the area of its namesake, Kruger Rock, into Hermit Park Open Space. A map below shows where the two locations are in proximity to each other; this not a burn area map.

Homes are in close proximity to the fire and are threatened, though none have been burned at this time, Smith said. Smith told CBS Denver there are concerns the fire will jump Highway 36.

Despite gusts exceeding 40 mph at times, aerial resources were used to slow the fire’s progress, and officials say more have been ordered for Tuesday.

11 News chief meteorologist Brian Bledsoe said the cold front Tuesday night in Wednesday would likely prevent significant growth overnight but warned fire crews would be up against more wind and continuing arid weather if they couldn’t contain the fire in the next few days.

“There’s still going to be some wind issues here and there, and there’s going to be more wind that takes place with the fire, if they don’t get it completely put out, on and off over the next several days. ... They need to get it squashed because we’re not going to see any snow for a while.”

Mandatory and voluntary evacuations were issued for the areas below, but the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office lifted all evacuations at 5 p.m. Friday. Zoom in and click on each colored area for more information.

An evacuation site has been set up at the Estes Park Event Center at 1125 Rooftop Way. The Larimer Humane Society at 3501 E. 71st St. in Loveland is taking small animals, while The Ranch at 5280 Arena Circle in Loveland is accepting large animals, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said.

Road closures have also been issued for the popular tourist area, most significantly Highway 36 between Apple Valley Road and Mall Road, which is between Lyons and Estes Park. Follow for the most up-to-date closures.

There has so far been a single fatality connected to the fire: a pilot was killed when a single-engine air tanker assisting with the firefight went down near Hermit Park.

“We are sad to report that the pilot and only occupant of the aircraft did not survive,” the sheriff’s office said.

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