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Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363
With large numbers of visitors expected to visit Rocky Mountain National Park over the weekend, and many public events scheduled for Estes Park, all visitors to the area are reminded that emergency fire restrictions are in effect within park boundaries.
Although some rain fell in the park earlier this week, fire danger remains high. The weekend forecast calls for dry, windy conditions. Visitors are asked to remain vigilant and follow emergency fire restrictions.
Smoke from the Cow Creek Fire has been minimal for the past several days, but could become visible over the weekend. The fire continues to burn in a rugged and remote area of the park. Firefighters are managing the fire's western flank, which has grown an additional 140 acres since September 1.
The Cow Creek Fire was started by lightning on June 24, and is expected to burn until extinguished by rain or snow. Fire is a natural part of the park's ecosystem. Fires have not burned in the Cow Creek area for 370 years.
All designated trails within the park remain open. Rocky Mountain National Park always has fire restrictions in place, but emergency restrictions were added last weekend because of high fire danger.
Open fires in the backcountry are now prohibited. Only petroleum-fueled stoves and grills are permitted in designated backcountry campsites. Open fires are allowed in developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
Smoking is prohibited in the park, except within closed vehicles, or in parking lots and developed areas, such as campgrounds, where flammable material has been removed within at least a three-foot diameter. Visitors are asked to extinguish all smoking materials in ashtrays.
The use of chainsaws to collect firewood at pre-approved sites under the wood-permit program is allowed, following the permit conditions.