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Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363
The Fern Lake Fire, located west of the Fern Lake Trailhead on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park, is showing some smoke early Friday morning, likely due to burning a pocket of trees or deadfall. Fire officials mapped the fire yesterday at 660 acres.
This morning, a National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) team assumed command of the fire, which is still uncontained. The local resources that have been staffing the fire are working with the NIMO team.
Firefighters today are preparing for a significant change in weather, which includes strong winds and the potential for snowfall. Crews will continue preparing a contingency fire line in the Upper Beaver Meadows area for a potential burnout operation to stop fire spread to the north and east. They will only conduct the burnout if the fire becomes established in the Windy Gap and Beaver Mountain areas.
The Fern Lake Fire, west of Moraine Park, is being managed with a full suppression strategy. It is burning in steep, rugged terrain that includes beetle-killed trees, prohibiting direct attack by firefighters on 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. Containment efforts also include the coordination of strategic water drops and the planning of long range fire suppression tactics.
The continued safety of visitors and firefighters and the achievement of containment objectives remain the top priorities of park and fire officials.
Currently, Bear Lake Road, Upper Beaver Meadows Road and Moraine Park Campground are closed. In addition, to ensure visitor safety and to protect park resources, all park trails accessed from Bear Lake Road and Highway 66 have been closed, as are trails south of Trail Ridge Road including the Ute Trail. Trail Ridge Road remains open. Due to fire conditions at Rocky Mountain National Park, smoking and open fires in the park's backcountry are now prohibited.
Information about the fire will be updated in additional news releases and on InciWeb. Information is also available on the recorded fire information number (970) 586-1381. New information about the Fern Lake Fire will be made public as it becomes available.
For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206 or visit the park's website.