• A translucent blanket of clouds hangs over the snowy continental divide above Bear Lake Road. NPS Photo by VIP Olsen

    Rocky Mountain

    National Park Colorado

Infrared Flight Maps Heat and Perimeter of Fern Lake Fire

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Date: October 18, 2012
Contact: Julie Johndreau, 970-586-1206

Firefighters continue to monitor and patrol the Fern Lake Fire. The past few days of strong, gusty winds have caused a slight increase in fire behavior. Recent light precipitation and colder temperatures have helped moderate the drying effects of the wind. Puffs of smoke were more noticeable and the fire will continue to put up smoke until a heavy snow extinguishes it.

Last night, a late night infrared flight mapped the fire at 630 acres. The fire perimeter was last mapped on October 11, and the slight decrease in acreage is attributed to better mapping. Firefighters will use the data from the flight to inform their continue plan of attack on the fire. The fire continues to be managed with a full suppression strategy. The highest intensity of heat was recorded on the west side of the fire, leading into Forest Canyon.

Firefighters are closely watching fire behavior and weather. There is a contingency fire line in place so that fire managers are prepared to take quick action to ensure firefighter and visitor safety and to keep the fire within park boundaries. If necessary, firefighters can conduct a burn-out operation between the contingency line in Upper Beaver Meadows and the active fire. The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain with beetle killed trees. It is too dangerous for firefighters to conduct a direct attack, so this indirect attack strategy is being used.  

An area closure is still in effect for the safety of visitors and firefighters. Violation of any closure notice will result in citation and fine up to $500. Moraine Park Campground will reopen at noon on Friday. Trail closures will be reassessed for the weekend. Currently, all trails and areas accessed from north and west (right side) of Bear Lake Road remain closed, including the Cub Lake Trail, Fern Lake Trail, Hollowell Park Trail, Bierstadt Trail, Bear Lake to Fern Lake Trail, and all trails south of Trail Ridge Road, including Ute Trail.

Additional information about this fire can be found at www.inciweb.org, or by calling (970) 586-1381. New information will be released as it becomes available.

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