Galena fire photos: 1,000 acres burned, 75 percent contained, but not dead yet

Categories: News, Photos

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Big photos below.
Given concerns about below-average snowpack and already-announced watering restrictions in various Front Range communities, it's no surprise the first significant wildland blaze of the season arrived in March. Dubbed the Galena fire, the Fort Collins-area conflagration in Lory State Park, just beyond the banks of Horsetooth Reservoir, is thought to have consumed 1,000 acres thus far, and while containment is estimated at 75 percent, authorities aren't ready to call this story over. More information and photos courtesy of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office below.

Last year, Colorado was afflicted by numerous wildfires, with one of the most destructive being the High Park fire, which scorched well over 80,000 acres in an area approximately fifteen miles outside Fort Collins.

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Photo by Dave Johnston, courtesy of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office Facebook page
Fortunately, the Galena fire doesn't look likely to approach that level of destruction. While the 1,000 acre guess could rise, according to the Longmont Times-Call, it's not expected to threaten the High Park mark unless something unanticipated happens.

The most recent update from the Larimer County Sheriff's Office notes that high winds, some of which gusted to speeds above fifty miles per hour, hampered operations yesterday to some degree. Fortunately, the humidity was higher than it had been thanks to brief rain and snow showers that struck during the afternoon.

Around 130 fire personnel have been working the blaze, assisted by a pair of helicopters, although the latter couldn't be used yesterday due to the winds. Authorities hope they can be employed today.

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Photo by Dave Johnston, courtesy of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office Facebook page
Homeowners in the immediate vicinity of the fire were allowed to return on Saturday evening, and no residences or outbuildings have been lost at this writing -- another stark contrast with High Park. As for how Galena got started, here's the statement offered by the LCSO: "Officials would like to reiterate that the cause and origin was human-caused but NOT the result of a campfire, controlled burn or escaped prescribed burn."

Expect to learn more about the possibilities that remain as the Galena fight winds down -- which everyone involved hopes it does, and soon. In the meantime, look below to see more photos of the efforts to date courtesy of photographer Dave Johnston and the Larimer County Sheriff's Office.

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Photo by Dave Johnston, courtesy of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office Facebook page
Continue for more photos of the Galena fire near Fort Collins.

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Shannon Moore
Shannon Moore

Of course that is a fear many probably share. One thing we must keep in mind though is that fire is natural, it's Mother Nature's way of "spring cleaning." We have chosen to build homes and towns and ranches etc in the areas that commonly have fires, it's a danger of our choices. I'm not a "tree hugger," I just feel like we've chosen to build these structures in areas that we know fires happen. We do everything we can to stop fires, then we end up with pine beetles. The Earth has a system, it's not to be messed with, it's certainly got more power than us. My heart goes out to those who lost homes and lives in the fires last year. It should probably send a message that we need to be a bit more cautious in our choices of trying to inhibit Mother Nature, she will win the battle, we won't.

Pamela Millard Priest
Pamela Millard Priest

With the amount of moisture that we DID NOT GET... it seems that we could easily have another bad fire year. But aside from those fires started from lightening, if people would be careful with their cigarettes, camp fires, off road exploration (fires started from dragging dry brush around under the vehicle) and fireworks... the fires we have could be lessened.

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