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Contact: Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer, (970) 586-1363
Contact: Park Information, 970-586-1206
Initial attack operations started today on both the Forest Canyon Fire and the Mirror Fire. On the Forest Canyon Fire hand crews hiked down from Trail Ridge Road. Mitigation and containment efforts are concentrating on preventing fire spread and spotting downhill. The Forest Canyon Fire is burning below Trail Ridge Road between Rock Cut and Forest Canyon overlook, and is approximately 5 acres. Two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATS) dropped retardant on the Forest Canyon Fire this morning but it was ineffective due to the steep terrain and valleys. A Type 1 helicopter has been assigned to the fire and should be in the area this afternoon.
Trail Ridge Road remains open unless fire conditions change. Upper Beaver Meadows Road is closed due to aviation operations.
The Forest Canyon Fire is burning in mostly lodgepole pine forest, with 50 percent of the stand killed by recent insect infestations. This area of the Forest Canyon Fire has not burned in the last 800 years. Fire behavior is being driven by steep terrain and the amount of fuel. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. However, a thunderstorm with lightning moved through the Forest Canyon area yesterday afternoon.
The Mirror Fire continues to burn in the remote northern section of the park in spruce fir forest. The Mesa Verde National Park Helitack crew are assigned to this fire. Trail closures are in effect for the Mirror Lake Trail, from the junction with the Mummy Pass Trail northbound to Mirror Lake. The Comanche Peak trail is closed from the park boundary southbound to Mirror Lake. Wilderness campsite closures include the Mirror Lake site and the Koenig stock site, and reservations for these backcountry sites are canceled until further notice.
Assisting Rocky Mountain National Park fire staff include Mesa Verde National Park Helitack, Estes Valley Fire Protection District, Grand Lake Fire Protection District, Boulder County Fire, and Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest.