East Troublesome fire forces new evacuations in Estes Park early Saturday as high winds fuel fire growth

The East Troublesome fire forced new evacuations in Estes Park early Saturday as high winds pushed the fire toward the mountain community.

Around 5:30 a.m., the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office issued mandatory evacuations for the eastern side of Estes Park, which extends from a north border of Devils Gulch Road, west border of MacGregor Avenue, south border of Pierson Mountain and east borders of Colorado 34 and Colorado 36.

Additional evacuation orders were given to residents along Colorado 34 from Estes Park to Drake, Larimer County officials said.

Colorado 34 is closed at Sleepy Hollow Park and Colorado 36 closed at mile marker 8 — though the road remains open for any evacuees leaving the area.

The American Red Cross has set up shelters for evacuees at multiple locations:

  • Embassy Suites in Loveland (4705 Clydesdale Pkwy.)
  • Westminster City Parks/Rec Center (10455 Sheridan Blvd.)
  • Isle of Capri in Blackhawk (401 Main St.)

Night crews working the fire reported winds up to 60 mph, pushing the fire quickly to the east, fire officials said early Saturday.

The East Troublesome fire is burning 188,389 acres, 294 square miles, with 4% containment as of Saturday morning.

Saturday marks another Red Flag warning, with high winds and low relative humidity expected to fuel further growth across a fire that’s already staked claim as the second-largest in Colorado’s recorded history.

The winds accompany an incoming cold front that’s expected to bring near-zero temperatures and snow to the fire area.

Fire crews made good progress Friday on the southern edge of the fire, reducing its potential threat to Granby, said Noel Livingston, the fire’s incident commander, during a Saturday morning briefing.

That southern edge — which sits above Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs — continues to be a priority for firefighters, but “we’re feeling more comfortable with how things are sitting,” Livingston said.

Saturday night, the Grand County sheriff confirmed two fatalities from the fire — Lyle and Marylin Hileman, 86 and 84 — who declined to evacuate, opting instead to stay in their Grand Lake they had owned for years.

Other Grand County residents on Friday recalled the horrors of seeing their homes destroyed by the fast-moving fire, which burned over 150,000 acres in less than two days this week.

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