An inch of snow fell on the Cameron Peak fire overnight Monday, helping to drop temperatures and suppress the fire, according to an update on the fire's Facebook page.
The unusually cold temperatures and snow conditions in early September come after the fire exploded in size over the weekend as strong winds and high temperatures fueled the fire's growth to become the fifth largest fire in state history at 102,596 acres as of Tuesday morning.
While the lower temperatures and moisture will provide reprieve to the 829 firefighters battling the blaze Tuesday, it won't be enough to squelch the fire completely, Alissa Tanner, a spokesperson for the fire said.
"This year's drought sucked the moisture out of everything," Tanner said.
The lack of moisture in the vegetation means even with a day or two of snow or rain the fire will persist because temperatures will rebound into the 70's this weekend an onward.
Tanner said "season ending events" would be needed to totally extinguish the fire, such as a series of heavy snows or a lasting change in the weather conditions.
The fire's containment is still 4%. Tanner said the steep terrain where the fire is burning as well as the type of vegetation that's burning — tall conifers and Lodgepole pines with shallow or dead root systems — make the conditions extremely dangerous for firefighters to build containment lines.
Tuesday, the fire ranked as the state's top priority for wildfires. Firefighters will work on putting out hot spots around the fire's perimeter and use the days of cooler temperatures and moisture to get ahead on putting out the blaze, Paul Bruggink, another spokesperson for the fire said.
Sections of Larimer County are under mandatory evacuation orders while other parts are under voluntary evacuation orders. Find out details on evacuations here.