FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The High Park Fire continues to break hearts as the number of homes it has destroyed grew to nearly 250 over the weekend.
Crews previously confirmed that 191 homes had been destroyed by the fire, which has grown to 130 square miles and is 45 percent contained. Friday's destruction brings that toll up to 248 homes. No structures or homes were damaged on Saturday, incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said in a media briefing Sunday morning.
The fire, which has cost $29.6 million to battle since it began June 9 due to lightning, claimed 80 structures -- 57 homes -- in Glacier View Meadows subdivision and the Deer Meadows area northwest of Fort Collins alone when it ripped through the area Friday.
Residents learned the fate of their homes on Sunday during a meeting for evacuees at The Ranch in Loveland.
Sunday night, the skies above Fort Collins opened up, pouring rain -- and accompanying lightning -- down on the area. The squall's effects on the fire won't be fully known until Monday morning, when it will be easier to see where rain helped firefighters and where smoke from lightning will signal more work.
In Glacier View, officials say a dozer line firefighters built saved "hundreds of homes," while direct structure protection measures saved 40 more. Glacier View Fire Chief Greg Niswender told evacuees Sunday when the fire jumped the Poudre River at Stevens Gulch it was a mile wide and went through the 12th filing in less than 30 minutes.
"There was not a lot anyone was going to do," he said, his voice cracking. Minutes later he had to tell friends and neighbors their homes were gone.
"This is the worst thing (Glacier View) has ever faced, but I wouldn't want to face it with anyone else," he told the anxious crowd.
The danger isn't over for Glacier View residents or anyone living in or near the fire zone, officials cautioned. And, while more evacuees are going home, many are still displaced or on orders to be ready to go if needed.
With only 45 percent containment, the fire is still a threat.
Crews will continue to battle the fire in its northwest corner near Glacier View, and also will focus containment efforts on the burn area's southwest corner to prevent its spread toward Pingree Park.
Temperatures in the mountains are expected to be in the 90s Monday with low humidity.
Meanwhile, a separate blaze prompted the evacuation of approximately 11,000 residents Sunday and is threatening a resort area near Manitou Springs.
The Waldo Canyon Fire is burning near Waldo Canyon off of Highway 24 and is at zero percent containment. The fire is at 3,600 acres and smoke could be seen from the Denver area over the weekend.
About 450 people are working the fire, just to the west of Colorado Springs. Officials said resources include three heavy air tankers, four single-engine air tankers and at least three helicopters.
By PAT FERRIER
Fort Collins Coloradoan