Fern Lake Fire Dec. 2, 2:30 PM Update
Incident: Fern Lake Wildfire
December 2, 2:30 p.m.
Fern Lake Fire activity increased this afternoon on the south side of the fire, just west of Steep Mountain due to strong, gusty winds. A Red Flag Warning was issued at noon today by the National Weather Service for strong winds until 6 a.m. tomorrow. The fire is still within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National park. Firefighters are focusing their efforts on this area to keep the fire from spreading to the south and Hollowell Park, within Rocky Mountain National Park. Increased smoke visible on the fire this afternoon is primarily from the fire heating up on the far west side in Forest Canyon to the west, moving away from town. Firefighters have made significant progress improving fireline on the north side of the fire from Bear Lake Road west along Cub Lake Road to the Fern Lake Trailhead. The majority of Estes Park is unaffected by the Fern Lake Fire. The fire was mapped at approximately 3,580 acres yesterday and new estimates are expected later today.
Tonight's weather forecast mirrors Friday night's weather, with strong winds gusting to 60 to 70 mph. The fire more than doubled in size and spread approximately 3 miles in 35 minutes during the early morning hours of Dec. 1. The fire is 20 percent contained at this time. The priorities of fire managers continue to be firefighter and public safety, incident stabilization and control of the fire perimeter to keep it from spreading beyond the park boundaries so residents may be allowed to re-enter when it is safe for them to do so. Wind forecasts for tonight mean that residents should be prepared for expanded evacuation areas and pre-evacuation areas.
Smoke from the fire has been impacting the area especially during the evening hours. Approximately 200 personnel are working on the fire and more resources are on the way. Crews will monitor the fire throughout the night. No injuries have been reported. Only one private cabin is confirmed lost in Moraine Park, within Rocky Mountain National Park.
A Type I Incident Management Team will assume responsibility for Fern Lake Fire management today. Specialized forestry equipment known as Feller-Bunchers that cut and stack trees are creating a fire break on the South Lateral Moraine and working around Tuxedo Park and the Hwy 66 cooridor. Air support assigned to the fire could not be used again today due to strong, erratic winds. Structure protection is being provided by many local Fire Departments. Cooperating lead agencies are the National Park Service, Larimer County Sheriff's Department, the Town of Estes Park and the Estes Valley Fire Protection District.
The east side of Rocky Mountain National Park via Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance is closed, although Fall River Visitor Center remains open.
There is a Red Flag warning today. Based on wind forecasts for this evening, residents should be aware that pre-evacuation and evacuation notices could be expanded. Sign up for emergency notifications at www.leta911.org. Changes in current evacuation and pre-evacuation orders are also made through reverse notification.
The scope and necessity of evacuations is continuously evaluated. At this time, only individuals with a medical necessity are allowed to re-enter the evacuation area of the Highway 66 corridor with an escort from the Sheriff's office. The Highway 66 corridor, including all adjacent streets, remains in evacuation. Electrical power is still on in the area.
Last night, expanded pre-evacuation reverse notifications were sent to the Marys Lake Road area to include the area from Moraine Avenue and Rock Ridge Road South to Highway 7 and Fish Creek Road. The pre-evacuation notice includes both the east and west sides of Marys Lake Road. Pre-evacuation means that residents should be ready to leave if they receive an evacuation notice.
Residents of High Drive and adjacent streets are also on pre-evacuation notice. The residents in this area must present identification to law enforcement at the High Drive road block. No others will be allowed in the area.
The evacuation center will transition from the Estes Park High School to the Mountain View Bible Fellowship at 3 p.m. on today, Dec. 2. This location will be used for sheltering and continued evacuee updates. Mountain View Bible Fellowship is located at 1575 South Saint Vrain Ave. /Highway 7, at the corner of Peak View Drive. The transition to the church has been moved up from 5 p.m. to 3 p.m. today. The cooperating agencies, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are staffing this evacuation center. Information is provided to evacuees on site.
Large animals may be taken to the Stanley Park Fairgrounds at 1209 Manford Ave.
INCIDENT INFORMATION SOURCES AND BRIEFINGS
There will be a community and evacuee meeting at 5 pm today (Dec. 2) at Town Hall in the board room, 170 MacGregor Avenue. This meeting will be live streamed at http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp e=001HHTw1VoEl68ayd3aGGYqeD7CmLSTE-bSab9uZHxB07viWpF38DCZLxvOG_Z2GE1LBJLjjEN52LpzRy05jesOKke2mkhB4y26p4jKcBBlxQ0QfhH2c52S68GRBiIS7Xzs and broadcast live on local cable channel 12. A media briefing will be held at approximately 6 p.m., immediately following the community meeting will be a press briefing at Town Hall.
Information on this fire is available at:
• Twitter: @inciweb and #FernLakeFire
• Public information line: 970-577-3716 (Open 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Dec. 2 and Dec. 3)
• Media Information line: 970-577-3718 (Open 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Dec. 2 and Dec. 3)