July 13, 2016
Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363
In the past three days, park rangers and fire crews at Rocky Mountain National Park have responded to three separate fire incidents. This morning, two people had an illegal campfire along Old Fall River Road. Late yesterday afternoon, a park visitor reported two people starting a fire near Dream Lake. Park visitors were issued violation notices for these illegal campfires.
On Monday, July 11, Rocky Mountain National Park visitors notified officials that they saw smoke and flames near the Twin Sisters Trailhead. The Estes Valley and Allenspark Fire Protection Districts and Rocky Mountain National Park firefighters responded to the scene. The fire was contained to a 20 feet by 20 feet area. With high winds on Monday it had the potential to spread quickly. The fire is believed to be human caused and is under investigation.
Park visitors' awareness to report two of these fires greatly assisted park staff. The quick response from interagency partners made a difference in suppressing and containing the fire at the Twin Sisters Trailhead on Monday.
In 2015, with record visitation, park staff saw a significant increase in wildfires due to illegal campfires. While all fires last year were suppressed at less than 1/4 acre, each one had the potential to spread and threaten lives and property.
Rocky Mountain National Park always has fire restrictions in place. Campfires are prohibited in the park, except within designated campfire rings in picnic areas and front-country campgrounds.
In the fall of 2012, the Fern Lake Fire started from an illegal campfire. This fire burned over 3,000 acres, caused an evacuation of a portion of Estes Park and cost more than 6 million dollars to suppress.