Resident describes massive Spring Glade Fire: ‘It exploded’ | MyWindsorNow.com

Resident describes massive Spring Glade Fire: ‘It exploded’

Nate A. Miller
nmiller@greeleytribune.com

Firefighters from Greeley and Windsor were among a handful from Weld County who joined a host of others from across northern Colorado on Saturday in battling a massive wildfire northwest of Loveland.

By 8 p.m., the Spring Glade Fire had burned 364 acres and was 60 percent contained, according to a news release from the Larimer County Sheriff's Office. The fire began about 11 a.m. near Coyote Ridge Natural Area, which is about 10 miles west of Windsor in Larimer County.

Authorities sent evacuation notices to 124 residents, and the fire directly threatened at least three structures, though none were reported damaged, according to Tribune media partner The Denver Post.

Authorities have closed the Coyote Ridge Natural Area, and it will remain closed today. They also evacuated hikers from Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins.

The evacuations were lifted just before 7:30 p.m. and most residents were allowed to return to their homes, though firefighters would continue fighting the blaze through the night, according to the sheriff's office.

Greeley Fire Department spokesman Dominic Tatti said Loveland Fire Rescue asked for mutual aid from Greeley about 12:30 p.m., and the fire department sent a brush truck along with three certified wild-land firefighters. He said the crew spent most of the day battling the blaze. They still were there late Saturday but were expected to return to Greeley.

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In addition to Greeley and Windsor Severance Fire Rescue, crews from the LaSalle Fire Department, the Platte Valley Fire Protection District and Front Range Fire Rescue in Johnstown joined crews from 10 other northern Colorado fire departments, as well as the Larimer County Sheriff's Office in battling the blaze. All told, more than 100 firefighters were on the scene throughout the day, along with firefighting aircraft. Single engine air tankers conducted 18 drops and a helicopter flew two full fuel cycles, according to the release.

More crews are expected to join the battle today.

"Anything can happen," David Moore, spokesman for the Larimer sheriff's office, told The Post. "We wanted to put as many resources on the front end (of the fire) to hopefully knock it down soon."

Still, heat and wind caused problems for firefighters and drove the growing blaze. Moore told The Post the fire spanned both sides of the ridge, which caused some communication difficulties for crews as the ridge created a dead zone.

"It exploded," Bonnie McDermid, who lives near the site of the blaze, told The Loveland Reporter-Herald. "It sparked and the wind took it like crazy."

Fire authorities said the cause of the blaze remains under investigation. There were no injuries.

To help

For more information about the wildfire or to donate to help the Red Cross help local residents affected by disasters like the Spring Glade Fire, go to http://www.RedCross.org.