Fern Lake Fire explodes to 4,400 acres; east side of Rocky Mountain National Park closed
Ryan Summerlin December 3, 2012
The east side of Rocky Mountain National Park via Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance closed during the weekend after high winds fueled the Fern Lake Fire, which more than doubled in size and spread approximately 3 miles in 35 minutes during the early morning hours of Dec. 1. Fall River Visitor Center remains open. As of Monday morning, the fire had grown to about 4,400 acres. Hundreds of people worked to prevent the fire from spreading any closer to Estes Park. and it remains contained within Rocky Mountain National Park boundaries.Approximately 150 firefighters and 19 engines worked on the Fern Lake Fire overnight Sunday into Monday. Spot fires continue to burn in the Steep Mountain area and crews continue working to keep it from moving further to the south. Structure protection crews are still stationed along Bear Lake Road to try to keep the fire within the park. The fire management team is optimistic about the fire after fire lines held Sunday night in spite of heavy winds. Forecasted weather conditions are also favorable with cooler temperatures in the mid-30s to low 40s and lighter winds for Monday.Calm winds are expected Monday night, and an air tanker is available and will help support firefighting efforts if wind conditions allow. Helitankers will also fly if winds allow.Approximately 250 personnel are currently working on the fire and more resources are on the way. No injuries have been reported. Only one private cabin is confirmed lost in Moraine Park, within the park. The fire is approximately 4,400 acres and if weather conditions allow, there will be an infrared flight to map and estimate the fire size more accurately on Monday. The last containment estimate for the fire is 20 percent.The priorities of fire managers continue to be firefighter and public safety, incident stabilization and control of the fire perimeter to keep it from spreading beyond the park boundaries so residents may be allowed to re-enter when it is safe for them to do so. Smoke from the fire has been impacting the area especially during the evening hours. Structure protection is being provided by many local Fire Departments. Cooperating lead agencies are the National Park Service, Larimer County Sheriff’s Department, the Town of Estes Park and the Estes Valley Fire Protection District.The fire started Oct. 9. The cause remains under investigation.To learn moreInformation about this fire is available at www.inciweb.org and www.larimer.org and on Twitter @inciweb and #FernLakeFire. The public information line is 970-577-3716 (Open 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Dec. 3).