Activity Increases on The Fern Lake Fire; High Wind Warning for Tonight
Incident: Fern Lake Wildfire
For Immediate Release: 4 p.m., November 30, 2012
Estes Park, CO - Firefighters have been moved off the fireline due to the risk of falling trees from high winds. In addition, helicopters have been grounded because of the increased wind speed. A high wind warning is in effect from midnight until 11 a.m. tomorrow for 25-45 mph west winds with gusts around 75 mph possible. A few firefighters will keep watch on the fire from a safe vantage point overnight.
The higher winds have contributed to increased fire behavior and a spot fire in the southwest corner of the fire, west of the confluence of the Forest and Spruce Canyons. It is burning actively and creating additional spot fires from embers that have landed on receptive fuel beds. Increased smoke from the additional fire behavior may be more noticeable. The fire is now 1515 acres, with the growth still primarily on the west and southwest side of the fire in Forest Canyon and near the confluence of Forest and Spruce canyons. About 60 personnel are now assigned to the fire.
The Fern Lake Fire is being managed under a full-suppression strategy. Due to steep terrain, hazard trees and heavy fuel loading, fire managers opted to attack the fire on their terms, when the risk is more acceptable. Fire crews are accessing the fire from the Fern Lake Trail and avoiding areas that have an abundance of hazard trees. Their objective is to keep the fire on the north side of the Spruce Creek Drainage and to suppress any spot fires that ignite to the south or east of the active fire area.
The continued safety of visitors and firefighters and the containment of the fire in the park remain the top priorities of park and fire officials. A fire and smoking ban is in effect until further notice in the backcountry of the park, east of the Continental Divide. Moraine Park Campground remains open and campfires in grates are allowed. Use of fire anywhere in the area should be used with extreme caution. For visitor safety, trails in the immediate area of western Moraine Park and the fire are closed to hikers. This includes Fern Lake Road beyond the winter parking lot, Fern Lake Trail all the way to Lake Helene (by The Pool, Fern Falls, Fern Lake, Odessa Lake to Helene), the Cub Lake Trail from the trailhead to The Pool and the Mill Creek Trail from the Mill Creek Basin campsites to the Cub Lake Trail. Visitors who ignore trail closures will be issued a citation. Trails are posted and physically closed.
Information about the fire is available at http://www.inciweb.org/, or by dialing (970) 586-1381, a recorded fire information number. New information about the Fern Lake Fire will be released 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 www.nps.gov/romo.