A wildfire that has consumed more than 100,000 acres in northern Colorado could merge with the largest wildfire in state history, fire officials said Thursday.
The East Troublesome Fire, which began Oct. 14, prompted the closure of Rocky Mountain National Park and mandatory evacuation of parts of Estes Park, CNN reported. CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said the fire has grown to the equivalent of 70 football fields since it began.
The East Troublesome Fire has burned 125,602 acres and was only 5% contained as of Thursday, officials said, per the CNN report.
The blaze grew at the rate of 6,000 acres an hour on Wednesday, FOX31 reported. (RELATED: Colorado Wildfire Surpasses 200,000 Acres, Making It Largest Fire In Colorado History)
— The Colorado Sun (@ColoradoSun) October 22, 2020
Officials said Thursday that the East Troublesome Fire could merge with the Cameron Peak Fire, which is the largest fire in Colorado history — the Cameron Peak fire is 55% contained. Only about 10 to 15 miles separates the two fires, said state Public Safety Executive Director Stan Hilkey, per CNN. (This Wildfire Is The Largest Blaze In Colorado History)
“It is a potential, and certainly this year has been one of those years where those low potential events seem to be happening with high frequency,” Noel Livingston, incident commander, said Thursday night, per CBS4. “And, you know, a fire of this size, moving this far in October is a very low potential event in terms of what we would expect, and it’s occurred.”
The East Troublesome Fire, located near Grimes Peak in the Arapaho National Forest, jumped the Continental Divide and is burning in the upper reaches of Rocky Mountain National Park, the National Weather Service tweeted Thursday evening.
“#EastTroublesomeFire continues to advance towards Grand Lake. IF YOU LIVE IN THIS AREA, EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY!! Fire has been reported as close as Columbine Lake,” the National Weather Service in Boulder tweeted Wednesday night.
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) October 22, 2020
“We are doing everything we can to save lives and save homes,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a news conference on Thursday.
Officials are investigating the cause of the fire and aim to have it fully contained by Nov. 10, according to CNN.