Apr 012004
Authors: Jesse McLain, Josh Huseby

Veronica Galindo is waiting on a phone call.

Since the beginning of the Picnic Rock fire Tuesday afternoon,

Galindo and other Poudre Canyon residents have been keeping an eye

on the fire’s expansion. Galindo, who lives seven miles up the

Poudre Canyon, said many neighbors have already moved instead of

waiting for an order from the fire department.

“We’ve already got our animals out and brought everything down

with us,” Galindo said. ” We’re hoping we can go back.”

As of Thursday evening, the fire had reached 3,500 acres and

caused 128 homeowners to be notified of their need to evacuate,

said Eloise Campanella, press information officer for the Larimer

County Sheriff’s Office. Housing areas that have been evacuated

include the Bonner Peak Ranch subdivision and the Cherokee Hills


The fire had already claimed one home and a storage garage on

Obenchain Road as of about 9 p.m. Thursday.

Campanella said the recent exceptionally dry, warm and windy

weather has made the fire even more difficult to fight and caused

it to nearly double in size Wednesday night.

“The weather is not cooperating,” Campanella said. “But the

humidity will be going up (Thursday night) and that is something we

haven’t had in a while.”

Air support is working alongside firefighters to help fight the

Picnic Rock fire.

Bill Nelson, the sheriff’s office operations manager, said there

are four crews – a total of 227 firefighters – working to stall the

blaze. Along with firefighters battling the fire from the ground,

there are two heavy tankers, one twin-engine plane, two type-II

choppers and one type-I chopper fighting the blaze from the air, he


“This is a very intense situation and we are concerned,”

Campanella said.

There is no estimate of containment on the fire, she said.

The fire stretches from Highway 14 south to County Road 74 E,

and from Highway 287 west to the north fork of the Poudre River,

Nelson said. He anticipated a wind shift tonight to bring as much

as 1 inch of moisture to the area, but he added that he could not

guarantee anything.

“We’re kind of at (the fire’s) mercy,” Nelson said.

Larry Peterson, chief for Livermore Fire Protection, had been on

the scene much of the day Thursday. Nine Livermore firefighters are

on the scene, but Peterson said some parts of the fire are too

dangerous for firefighters to reach.

“We don’t have anybody at the head of the fire; it’s just too

dangerous,” Peterson said.

When asked what the community could do to help support the team

fighting the fire, Peterson shook his head while looking for an


“I can’t think of anything that the public can do right now.

Everything’s pretty much taken care of,” Peterson said. “They could

pray; that would be the best thing anyone could do.”

While hoping for weather changes and wishing the firefighters

well, Galindo, like many of her neighbors, is forced just to


“My father is in Arizona right now,” Galindo said. “He’s just

wondering if he’ll have a home to come back to.”

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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