The blaze led to mandatory evacuations Thursday in parts of Estes Park, a town of 6,000 in the Rocky Mountains. Residents in the small town of Grand Lake were ordered to leave Wednesday as the fire continued to burn.
There are some concerns that the two fires could merge into one, but East Troublesome Fire incident commander Noel Livingston said he does not see that happening right now.
“But it is a potential,” he said during a briefing Thursday, according to the Coloradoan. “And certainly this year has been one of those years where those low potential events seem to be happening with high frequency. A fire this size moving this far in October is a very low potential event in terms of what we expect and this occurred. So, I don’t want to say it can’t happen. But right now, it doesn’t appear that it’s going to.”
The Pine Gulch fire, which was previously the largest wildfire in the state before being overtaken in size by the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires, is the only major fire this year to be 100 percent contained. The blaze burned just over 139,000 acres before full containment on Sept. 24. The fire started on July 31.
California is also experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season, with more than 4 million acres burned this year. The state is currently battling 19 wildfires, 12 of which remain major incidents, according to a Thursday update by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
Parts of Northern California remain under red flag warnings.
Over 450,000 acres are currently burning in Colorado, according to the Coloradoan. Experts have said that climate change and a buildup of dead and parched wildland vegetation have contributed to this year’s fires in the West.