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High Park Fire Cost Now At $3M

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) - Officials at the High Park Fire in Larimer County say the cost of the fire has now reached $3 million and by Tuesday night they had it 10 percent contained.

On Tuesday morning officials lifted some evacuations and called for new ones in another area, and more such actions are expected in the next 24 hours.

The evacuation area from County Road 38E from Gindler Ranch Road west to Milner Ranch Road was opened up to residents at midday on Tuesday. That's south and west of Horsetooth Reservoir.

Hundreds of residents still remain evacuated because of the fire, and a new evacuation order was handed down Tuesday afternoon for a large area to the south of the blaze that includes Colorado State University's 12,000 acre Pingree Park campus.

Some new pre-evacuation orders were also called for Tuesday morning for part of the Glacier View subdivision to the north of the burn area. Many residents in the area told CBS4 they are prepared to leave at any moment.

High Park Fire
Federal Incident Command spokesman Steve Sagan shows off a new map of the High Park Fire June 12. (credit: CBS)

The fire is now listed at 46,600 acres.

"We had made some progress on this fire; we're at 10 percent containment," said Steve Segin, public information officer with the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center. "Right now we've got 634 personnel assigned."

Segin said every day the containment percentage will go up.

"Our crews are working very hard; in particular, our structure protection group. Today our interior group, they were actually able to save homes," Segin said. "So they are doing an outstanding job. We're getting black on the map, we're saving homes."

Segin said crews are backing off and then lighting fires to keep the fire from getting out of the containment lines.

"A lot of the smoke you saw today was interior burning, some was active fire, the rest was those firing operations."

Segin said one major area of concern they had as of Wednesday night was on the southwest portion of the fire.

"Fire got outside of the containment line and just kind of hooked around a little bit and crews worked really hard to try to catch that. They didn't quite catch it today, however they're going to be back there again tomorrow to do that."

High Park Fire
The High Park Fire burning near a building on Monday. (credit: CBS)

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith met with residents Tuesday morning to try to ease their fears about the fire, which killed one resident in her home. Officials on Monday found the remains of Linda Steadman, 62. Smith said in a news conference that Steadman's home received two emergency notifications after the fire started and a firefighter who was trying to reach her home had to retreat because of the flames.

The fire broke out Saturday in the Paradise Park area of Larimer County, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins. It is burning on 70 percent private land and 30 percent public land. Very hot and windy conditions have been spreading the blaze quickly in forested areas that include lots of trees killed by pine beetles.

Officials said the fire was caused by a lightning.

The fire is the third largest in recent Colorado history. The fire's area is bigger than the city of Fort Collins.

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