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Crystal Fire Destroys 15 Homes

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- Emergency officials in Larimer County on Sunday evening said 15 homes were destroyed in the Crystal Fire.

The extensive damage to homes -- as well as to cars, motor homes, trailers and trucks -- came when winds picked up and spread the fire dramatically Saturday night into Sunday morning. It grew from a size of about two dozen acres to 4,500 acres. Wind gusts as high as 50 mph were recorded, and heavy smoke blew into the Fort Collins area.

The firefight on Sunday was aided greatly by colder temperatures and snow, and all evacuations were lifted at 7:30 p.m. The fire was officially 5 percent contained in the early evening.

"Based on current conditions there does not appear to be any active fire threat for the next 24 hours; however, winds are returning tomorrow and through the week. While it will be cooler this week it is expected to be drier. Residents are reminded that if conditions change they should be prepared to leave again," Larimer County Sheriff's officials wrote in a news release.

At a meeting with resident Sunday evening at Big Thompson Elementary School officials with the American Red Cross and United Way explained how they would be helping families affected by the blaze.

The fire was first reported at about 7:06 p.m. It is burning in a rugged, hilly area about 15 miles west of Fort Collins and so far no one has been injured by the blaze.

On Sunday morning things got complicated for one resident when she got a flat tire on her truck as she was trying to evacuate. Ceile Anderson said she was asleep when she got the phone call about the evacuations.

"I was sleeping and I got the phone call and I was just running, because I have a lot of animals to take with me," she told CBS4.

An emergency crew was helping Anderson fix the flat when she talked to CBS4, and her several large dogs were trying to stay calm in the back of her pickup.

Crystal Fire
Scott McKinney of Loveland took this photo of the Crystal Fire early Sunday morning. He said it was a "timed exposure."

Authorities released the following information for residents near the burn area.

"The Roadblocks will be maintained through the night and residents will need proof that they live in the area in order to gain admittance. Third parties will be allowed into the area only in the company of a local resident."

"Residents were being asked to insure that the Sheriff's office (has) current contact information."

Officials urged residents in Larimer County to sign up to receive updates on emergencies through their emergency notification system. That system can be found online at

Photos Of The Fire

Danny Dodge
Danny Dodge captured this image of the blaze early Sunday.
Crystal Fire
Mark Bowers took this photo of the fire from Fort Collins.

LINK: Larimer County Emergency Information

LINK: Wildfire Resources

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