April 2015
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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Reservoir Road Fire, Sunday evening update

The wild land fire between Flatiron Reservoir and Pinewood Reservoir west of Loveland has officially been named the Reservoir Road Fire. Initial response was by Loveland Fire Department with assist from Big Thompson Volunteer Fire, Loveland Rural, Berthoud Fire, Union Colony, Windsor Severance, Poudre Fire Authority, Larimer County Sheriff, US Forest Service, Lyons Fire, Hygiene Fire, Estes Park Fire, Wellington Fire, Glen Haven and Pinewood Springs. Approximately 100 firefighters are on the scene and additional resources have been offered by Boulder County from the Fourmile Canyon fire.

The fire was first reported to Loveland at 10:04 a.m. and was described as covering 3.5 acres. By noon, the fire was at 40 acres and had grown to 600 acres by 5:30 p.m.

Fire official ordered an evacuation of all residences with in a four-mile radius of the Pinewood Reservoir campground. Approximately 360 residences were notified using the reverse 911 calling. Heavy tankers were in use within two hours of the report of the fire and helicopter tankers arrived just before 1 p.m. By evening eight heavy tankers, one single-seat tanker and four helicopters were in use.

At approximately 3 p.m. the Loveland Church at 3835 SW 14th St., Loveland was named as the emergency evacuation center.

Most of the residents of the area have pets or larger animals. In one radio report, a livestock owner had asked that their 15 horses be turned loose. Some were more fortunate. The Stewart family who live on Saddle Notch Road, loaded their three horses in a trailer and made their way out though Waltonia Road to U.S. Highway 34 and back to the Bison Center for information.

Carol Christensen had her share of ups and downs during the day. The family had loaded everything into their motor home to evacuate and was told they could not make it down the Waltonia Road in the large vehicle. They quickly transferred items to the truck and left their home on Turkey Creek Trail. They had not gone far when they realized that they had forgotten their dog Traveler, who was sleeping at the back of the RV. Officials would not let them return for their pet and Christensen spent an anxious several hours worrying about Traveler. When a Larimer County Human Society Van pulled into the Bison Center parking lot at four o’clock, Christensen and family ran to the rear door and waited anxiously as the society worker took Traveler from a cage and handed him to a tearful Christensen. Official have reported one house destroyed by the fire, Christensen said it was her home.

The fire is currently not contained (8:30 p.m.) and has burned 600 to 700 acres. There is currently no fire west of the Pinewood Reservoir Dam.

Merlin Green, Loveland Fire and Rescue Division Chief, said that fire fighters are still in a defensive mode on a very active fire. The main task is concentrating on saving structures. This may include clearing trees and brush as well as fire suppression measures as needed. As night fell, two homes, four outbuildings and one recreational vehicle have been confirmed destroyed. Chief Green said earlier that there was some concern that the fire might change direction and threaten firefighters.

Crews will remain on the fire overnight. Green said that additional resources will be available tomorrow and they will attack the fire aggressively. The tankers will be back on duty at 8 a.m.

The next official briefing will be Monday at 10 a.m.

Rachel Stewart, a student at Thompson Valley High School, and her younger brother Mark, look over the horses that they brought out of their home on Saddle Notch Drive.

Photo by P.J. Dipentino: In this view from the Flatiron Reservoir Dam, the fire can be seen in the background as a helicopter tanker takes on water.

This is how the fire looked from the top of the Flatiron Dam at 4 p.m. Photo by P.J. Dipentino

Overcome with emotion, Carol Christensen hugs Traveler as her granddaughters reach out to pet him.

A press corp eager for information, surrounds Chief Green at the 5 p.m. briefing.

Both photos taken from the Carter Lake parking lot show how much the fire grew in 5 hours.

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