For more than 10 years, Diana Hamilton has lived on the upper side of County Road 44 H in the Buckhorn Canyon in Bellvue, northwest of Fort Collins, knowing that there was always a possibility of a wildfire.
But like most people who live in areas susceptible to such fires, Hamilton never thought she would be affected by one.
Now, as the largest wildfire in Colorado history continues to rage in Larimer County, she and her neighbors face an uncertain future.
“I always knew the canyon was going to burn, but I never expected it to be this big and ferocious. When you live up (where we do) you know there's a possibility of a fire affecting you, but you always assume it’ll never happen to me,” Hamilton said Saturday outside the Loveland Embassy Suites that is the temporary home for many evacuees.
“It was pretty unbelievable when we saw the flames on Wednesday and that’s kind of when we knew it was over.”
Hamilton is one of more than 1,000 people that have been displaced due to the Cameron Peak fire. That giant fire has engulfed 199,356 acres since it ignited on Aug. 13.
Three fresh evacuations were ordered Saturday, including County Road 27 east to the Devils Backbone, putting the total number of evacuation orders issued since Wednesday at 20, said Jered Kramer, a spokesperson for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.
Throughout Friday evening and well into Saturday, the 1,330 firefighters on the front lines battled adverse weather conditions. High wind speeds grounded support planes and helicopters Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, making the firefighters' task even more difficult.
Since Friday evening, the fire has expanded about 26,000 acres, because of strong westerly winds, said Dave Stephen, a public information officer for the Cameron Peak fire.
As of Saturday afternoon, the fire is 57% contained.
In response to the ever changing situation, the Colorado Department of Transportation closed Colorado 125 near Granby. There is no estimated time for its reopening.
On Friday, CDOT closed portions of U.S. 34 in Big Thompson Canyon to allow residents affected by the fires to evacuate.
The department and officials monitoring the fire continue to urge anyone who doesn't need to be in Larimer County to stay away.
“As wildfire activity has forced closures along state highway 7 and US 34, CDOT is urging travelers to avoid unnecessary trips in the area and allow emergency responders and evacuating residents to move as needed,” officials said in a release.
Officials monitoring the fires hope that an expected shift in wind patterns will assist firefighters.
“As we get later into the day, the winds are supposed to start shifting around the eastern part of the fire, and those winds will help slow any kind of growth of the fire,” Stephen said.
Despite the fire's continuous expansion, officials don't believe the flames will reach the city limits of Fort Collins, Estes Park or Loveland, Stephen said.
Even though at least 1,000 people have been displaced according to Stephen, many of those people told The Denver Gazette said that the support of neighbors makes things a lot easier.
“Knowing everybody’s safe is the main thing, but also having our neighbors here to support one another makes it a little bit easier,” said Terry Riley, a resident who has been displaced from Horsetooth Lake Estates.
But the one thing Diana Hamilton will never forget is kissing her house and her business, High Altitude Honey and Bees, goodbye.
“Right now, I’m homeless, I’m jobless, and I just don’t really know,” she said.