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Largest fires on record in Colorado history

Photo from the Pine Gulch Fire, taken Aug. 18
Photo from the Pine Gulch Fire, taken Aug. 18(Pine Gulch Fire Facebook Page)
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 12:49 PM MDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 11:10 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Three of Colorado’s 2020 wildfires have made the top ten list of Colorado’s largest fires, with all three having burned at least 100,000 acres. Two of the three fires are still active, and will likely keep growing until snow blankets the forests in which they are burning in. Several other fires that are not on this list are also actively burning in the state, and have the potential to leap onto the list as well.

The ten largest fires in state history are:

  • Cameron Peak Fire (206,977 acres) - The fire was started on August 13, 2020, roughly 60 miles west of Fort Collins and 15 miles southwest of Red Feather Lakes. It continues to burn and containment is at 55%
  • Pine Gulch Fire (139,007 acres) - This fire was started by lightning on July 31, 2020, roughly 18 miles north of Grand Junction in the northern Bookcliffs area. The fire is now 100% contained.
  • Hayman Fire (137,760 acres) - This fire started on June 8, 2002, just northwest of Colorado Springs in the Pike National Forest. The fire destroyed 133 homes and five firefighters died battling the blaze. The cause of the fire was determined to be arson.
  • East Troublesome Fire (125,602 acres) - The fire started on October 14, just north of Hot Sulphur Springs. The fire grew by over 100,000 acres on October 21, and is only 55 contained. It is likely to advance on this list.
  • Spring Creek Fire (108,045 acres) - This fire started on June 27, 2018, near Costilla in southern Colorado. The fire was started by a Denmark citizen who built a campfire to cook his food.
  • High Park Fire (87,284 acres) - This fire was started by lightning on June 9, 2012, in the mountains west of Fort Collins. It destroyed at least 259 homes and is still considered one of the most destructive fires in state history.
  • Missionary Ridge Fire (70,485 acres) - This fire was started by lightning on June 9, 2002, near Durango. One firefighter died in the fire, and 46 houses and cabins were destroyed.
  • West Fork Fire (58,570 acres) - This fire was a part of the West Fire Complex, which includes the Papoose and Windy Pass Fires as well. All three fires were burning closely to one another in the mountains south of Creede, and some combine the three fires into one fire “complex”. Combined, the fires are the second largest in Colorado history. All three fires were started by lightning, and this fire started on June 5, 2013.
  • 416 Fire (54,129 acres) - This fire was started from embers emitted from a coal-powered train locomotive, and burned about 13 miles north of Durango in the San Juan National Forest in June of 2018.
  • Papoose Fire (49,628 acres) - This fire was a part of the West Fire Complex, and was started from lightning on June 5, 2013, near Creede.

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