Had to run SLW down to the airport this afternoon, and got to see the two new fires South of us. There's one by Longmont, the Calwood fire, and two more further down by Boldaria, the East Troublesome fire, and the Left Hand Canyon fires. They're further back in the mountains, but are still pumping smoke.
The worst I saw was down by CO-66 on the North edge of Longmont. I could see the smoke drifting across the highway at times, and it was a little unsettling. Coming back from the airport let me see the fires from a different direction, and it looked like mushroom cloud. You could see the wind vortexes swirling the smoke up maybe 10,000' feet high, and it immediately reminded me of the diagrams in my flight manuals from long ago.
The closer fire, the Cameron Peak one, is now over 206,000 acres with 52% containment. The Northeastern lobe of the fire, which affects where the in-laws live is pretty much contained, so the evacuations orders have been lifted, and they can move back in to the homestead. The Southern front of the fires continues to burn, and is rapidly approaching US 34, one of the main roads in and out of Estes Park. US 34 has been washed out and rebuilt several times in the last 15 years or so, and now there's a fire bearing down on it.
The weather forecast is predicting a 30% chance of "Wintry Mix" Thursday night, but there's an 80% forecast of rain and snow for Saturday night. The chances of precipitation improve at higher elevations, so maybe this coming storm can dump enough moisture on it to give the firefighters a break.