The deadly High Park Fire continues to burn on Colorado’s Front Range. The fire, just west of Fort Collins had consumed over 46,000 acres of forest by Wednesday night.
Firefighters dealt with dry weather, shifting winds and fire burning in hundreds of acres of trees killed by pine beetles. More than one thousand firefighters are battling to protect homes and keep the fire from spreading.
Fire managers said the blaze’s west side is a concern because of all of the beetle-kill.
Fortunately, growth on Wednesday was not as explosive as days previous despite the potential for spreading being listed as “extreme.”
The fire is only 10% contained and has already cost more than three million dollars to fight.
On Wednesday, some evacuees were waiting to hear if they could return home. Others recounted the moments they were told to evacuate.
"There were, I think five or six houses within one, one and a half miles of mine that burned,” said Cy Johnson. He was one of those evacuated and could only watch and hope as firefighters streamed in and out of the area.
"And these guys were on the front lines up there. They're sucking in smoke, they're inhaling dirt and all that. I see them coming down here with respirators," Johnson said.
Weary from being away from home, he wanted to do something positive and organized a supply station in the tiny town of Bellvue.
"We want to help out. So we hand them water, maybe some sandwiches, give them thumbs up and they say 'thank you' and we say 'thank you, bless you, be careful' That's what we're doing here."
The station is staffed with volunteers and though the supplies originally came from Johnson’s and others’ pockets, donations now account for the expensive of the supplies.
"I can't go home right now and I'd rather do this and be close with the people who are actually on the front lines,” Johnson said.
Many residents in the evacuated area were using an overlook at Bingham Hill on Wednesday to see if they could see their homes, hoping for the best.
One of those residents was Greg Golubski. He recounted the morning that the evacuation order came in.
"That morning was so smoky. There was ash flying around in the air. We couldn't see flames yet at that point."
He and his wife were able to remove their horses from the property and return for other possessions in the nick of time.
"And then we saw the flames coming over that ridge and our house is just to the south of that. So, at that point, you thought you know, we didn't have a good chance. It was on two sides of us at that time."
The hardest part for Golubski was hearing rumors that all the houses were gone.
"We came up here and climbed up the hill back here and were able to see the house. So, we were able to sleep last night."
As of Wednesday afternoon, Johnson’s house was also spared, but his neighbors weren’t so lucky; like so many others who have lost their homes to the fire.