Smoke from Cow Creek Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park Continues to be Visible

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Date: September 16, 2010
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

Park personnel continue to monitor and evaluate the Cow Creek Fire while always keeping public and firefighter safety a top priority. This fire is in a remote location and all designated trails remain open in Rocky Mountain National Park. Since September 1, the fire has grown approximately 70 acres. The current fire activity has remained in the remote western flank of the Cow Creek Fire at the bottom of the West Creek drainage in an area of heavy fuels. This location places tundra to the north and west of the fire, buffered by the previously burned area to the east and south.

Because of the weather forecast of continued low humidity, warm temperatures and winds,  as well as the number of resources that are committed to the Reservoir Road Fire near Loveland, a Type 2 helicopter is in the park to support operations with the Cow Creek Fire. A Type 1 Hot Shot Crew from Idaho, a nine-person fire crew from Bandelier National Monument and crewmembers from Rocky have been working in the fire area since September 2. The crews will continue to walk areas in and around the fire to look for any hot spots. If any spots are detected outside the original containment area, the crews will provide direct attack on those spots.

For a more direct flight path to the fire area, the aviation support will be moving from the Upper Beaver Meadows Road in the park to the junction of Dry Gulch Road and Lory Lane on property owned by MacGregor Ranch. Upper Beaver Meadows Road should reopen by this evening. Park staff greatly appreciate the support of MacGregor Ranch and residents in this area. 

In early July, firefighters achieved containment of the northeast, east, and southern portions of the Cow Creek Fire in the remote West Creek area in Rocky Mountain National Park. The immediate threat to the area on the park's eastern boundary was mitigated; however, there was potential for the fire to spread to the west. It was expected that the fire would likely burn through the remainder of the fire season with the potential of smoke being visible until a significant weather event, such as snow this fall, puts the fire out.

On July 4, the three trails that were closed due to fire operations reopened. However, off trail travel on national park lands south of the North Fork of the Big Thompson River, west of the North Boundary Trail, north of Cow Creek, and east of Mummy Mountain and Mount Dunraven continue to be prohibited due to the active fire in the area.

Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem in the park. Fires have not burned in this rugged, remote area of the park for hundreds of years. More information on preparing for a wildfire can be found at

Last updated: December 1, 2015

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