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Monday, April 15, 2024

Crystal Fire blows up to 2,000 acres

Shortly after midnight the Larimer County Emergency Information Center announced that the Crystal Fire has blown up with sustained 50 mph winds and evacuations had been ordered. At that time the fire was estimated at 800 to 1100 acres with no containment. Emergency phone notifications went out to approximately 40 residences in the Stringtown Gulch area of the Buckhorn Canyon.

The first evacuations were for residents in the following areas:

    • South of Buckhorn Canyon to Stringtown Gulch
    • East of Crystal Mountain Road to Stove Prairie Road
    • South of Rist Canyon Road
    • East of Stove Prairie Road to east of Spring Valley Road and County Road 41

A shelter was opened shortly after 2 a.m. at the Cache La Poudre Elementary School in LaPorte. People who find it impossible to travel up to Stove Prairie and then down Rist Canyon should go directly to the Masonville Store.

At 4:40 a.m. the center sent out this bulletin:

Redstone Canyon area has now been notified for evacuations. In addion to the intial 110 numbers reached on the first evacuations, this adds another 226. A second shelter has been set up at the Big Thompson Elementary School at the intersection of the Masonville Road and Highway 34 in Loveland. The Davis Ranch Road area in Rist Canyon has not yet been contacted for evacuations (and it is not known whether they will be) but all residents are urged to maintain vigilance regarding this fire and be prepared to move if necessary. Anyone who wishes to leave from there can seek shelter at the Cache LaPoudre Elementary School in LaPorte. Smoke is very evident to those in the Fort Collins (and elsewhere in the vicinity) since the smoke column is being blown down closer to the ground and the smell of smoke is very strong. With sunrise, this will be visually evident to a great many people. No word yet on acreage but we hope to have an update shortly.

The 5:30 a.m. update from the Larimer County Sheriffs office:

The evacuation area for the Crystal Fire has been extended to include the Redstone Canyon area which includes approximately 226 homes.  This is in addition to the 110 homes notified earlier. The Davis Ranch Road area in Rist Canyon has been placed on alert for possible evacuation.  Residents there are urged to maintain vigilance and be prepared to move if necessary.

A second evacuation center has been opened at the Big Thompson Elementary School at 7702 West Highway 34 in Loveland.  This is in addition to the evacuation center at Cache La Poudre Elementary School at 3511 West County Road 54G. The Livestock Pavilion at the Ranch has been opened to house animals displaced by the fire.

The fire is now estimated at approximately 2,000 acres, although better estimates will be made at daybreak.  The flames have died down significantly as winds have calmed. Smoke is evident in the city of Fort Collins.

Roads in the area are open only to residents at this time to remove animals but will be closed to emergency traffic only later.

Residents may call the Larimer County Emergency Management line at 970-498-5500 for a recorded update of the latest information. That phone will be answered live beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. this (Sunday) morning.

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