GRAND LAKE —The Big Meadows Fire grew slightly overnight and is now partially contained.
Rocky Mountain National Park officials estimate the fire is 353 acres in size, from 333 acres yesterday, June 13, and about 30 percent contained.
There remains no imminent threat to any communities or structures; Rocky Mountain National Park and the town of Grand Lake remain open, but visitors to the west side of the park are strongly cautioned to be aware of increased traffic and aircraft associated with the fire.
Hand crews will continue to strengthen fire lines along the northwest flank of the fire, according to a Park press release issued on the afternoon of Friday, June 14. Crews will also continue to reinforce fire lines along Tonahutu Creek with the goal of completing hose lays, installing sprinklers, improving and mopping up existing burned areas along the southern flank of the fire.
Fire activity yesterday was largely limited to two areas: an area on the eastern flank of the fire on a south-facing slope, and an area along the southern flank of the fire with a similar southern exposure. Little change in the weather is anticipated today, Friday, June 14. Firefighters will likely experience afternoon winds of 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph, shifting to the west in the early afternoon. A chance for afternoon thunderstorms will persist throughout the weekend but these storms may bring little moisture to the area.
For today, fire-fighting resources on the fire include an initial attack module of eight fire-fighters, two interagency 20-person Type I hotshot crews, two interagency 20-person Type II handcrews, and five fire engines.
Three additional Type I hotshot crews have been ordered and should arrive on the fire today. Available air resources include two air attack small planes used for fire reconnaissance, two light helicopters, a medium helicopter, and one large heavy helicopter.
A National Guard Blackhawk helicopter remains on standby to assist fire operations in the event of a medical emergency.
Currently seven trails are temporarily closed in the area – the Onahu Trail, the Green Mountain Trail, the lower Tonahutu Trail, the Tonahutu Spur Trail, the Grand Lake Lodge Spur Trail, the Timber Lake Trail, and the trail which branches toward Mount Ida from Milner Pass. Trail closures do affect a section of the Continental Divide Trail that passes through the Park.