As of 9 p.m. December 4, the Fern Lake Fire had expanded to 3,477 acres with only 40% of the fire contained. Twelve crews of 20 firefighters each are fighting the flames, which roared back to life over the weekend forcing evacuations and threatening 1,000 structures. As of this morning evacuated residents in the Highway 66 area, from Highway 36 up to and including Aspen Brook Drive, were allowed to return to their homes, although all residents should be prepared for the potential of another evacuation. To stay up to date on all evacuation notifications, please visit Nps.gov “current fires” page , or sign up for alerts at www.leta911.org.
The east side of Rocky Mountain National Park, via Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance, is still closed, although the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center remains open. Fall River Visitor Center is closed today as part of normal winter hours.
High winds and rocky terrain have impeded efforts to contain the Fern Lake Fire, which has spread near the confluence of Big Thompson River and Canyon Creek. As of Tuesday evening October 23, the fire was 1,030 acres with 17% contained. Snow and rain is predicted for the end of the week, but firefighters caution that the expected precipitation, while helpful, will not entirely put out the fire. For full details visit inciweb.org.
The wildfire that started last Tuesday in Rocky Mountain National Park has grown to 660 acres as of Friday morning.
Named the “Fern Lake Fire” because it’s blazing just west of the Fern Lake Trailhead, the fire covers steep terrain on the park’s east side. Numerous beetle-killed trees stand in the area, giving the fire considerable fuel. The heat and the unnavigable terrain have prevented firefighters from attacking it from the ground.
“More than 90 personnel, seven fire engines, and one heavy helitanker are focusing on keeping the fire inside park boundaries north of Glacier Creek, west of Hollowell Park and south of Trail Ridge Road,” reported the National Park Service on the Rocky Mountain National Park website. “Part of the indirect attack is to establish a fire line a distance away from the edge of the active fire.”
The firefighters will use trails and rocky slopes as aids to build that fire line. The heavy helitanker is also on site dumping water on the blaze.
In efforts to minimize the long-term harm done to the natural environment through necessary firefighting strategies, fire officials are using Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST).
At this time, Bear Lake Road, Upper Beaver Meadows Road and Moraine Park Campground are closed due to the fire. Call (970) 586-1381 for updated information.