LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – The Colorado wildfires (fire map below) and the High Park Fire specifically took an unusual turn today with the arrest of Michael Maher. Maher was arrested by authorities for allegedly impersonating a firefighter. Officials, however, assure residents that looting is not underway today. But as winds pick up this evening, officials are telling news of new evacuations.
In a news briefing today, officials assured people that looting has not occurred in fire burned areas. But today, Michael Maher was arrested for peculiar conduct during the fire. Maher is charged with allegedly obstructing fire and police operations, displaying government plates, impersonating a fireman and police official.
Officials tell news that Maher was allegedly driving a pickup last night through the burned area. His truck reportedly had a government plate, stolen from Glenwood Springs. When Maher was arrested, they found on him stolen items. Officials would not confirm if the items were taken from inside the burn area.
Second, officials are worried about new winds tonight. Air support has reportedly stopped after 50 mph wind gusts were reported in the area. Winds have been staying constantly at upwards of 30 mph this afternoon, officials tell news. U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kristy Wumkes tells news that air support will be halted until the winds lessen.
Third, new evacuations are issued tonight. Hewlett Gulch subdivision went onto evacuation today. While 181 homes have been found destroyed, officials are warning residents today that far more homes may have been lost in the blaze. “As more assessments are made and information becomes available, residents will be notified by subdivision at the daily citizens briefings. This process could take several weeks to complete as the fire is still active and growing. “
Hewlett Gulch, King’s Canyon area and Boyd Gulch Road are on evacuation tonight. But for tonight, the weather is the biggest concern for this fire. “Red Flag Warning for the fire area for Sunday till 8 PM for high temperatures and strong winds. Temperatures are expected in the 90’s with winds gusting to 40-50 MPH on ridgetops and in Poudre Canyon beginning early morning.” For the latest update and fire map, click HERE.