Fern Lake Update Dec. 5, 9 Am
Incident: Fern Lake Wildfire
Fern Lake Fire Update
For Immediate Release: December 5, 2012, 9 a.m.
(Joint Information Center Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Date started: October 9, 2012
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park
Size: 3,477 acres (Current estimate due to better mapping)
Percent Contained: 40%
Cause: Under Investigation
Structures threatened: 1,000
Structures lost: 1
Injuries to Date: None
Cost to Date: $3.2 million
Number of Personnel: 503
Crews: 12 (a crew is 20 firefighters)
Water Tenders: 5
Firefighters kept a watchful eye on the fire last night which remained quiet on the perimeter with some tree torching in insolated canyons where remaining heavy fuels continue to burn out. The focus for today is the Steep Mountain area, specifically the fireline from the Mill Creek Trail to the west of Steep Mountain, then east to the junction of the Moraine Park Trail and the Cub Lake Trail. Numerous spots are still causing concerns. Multiple handcrews will be working along this fireline, extinguishing spots which could become issues during continued wind events. Crews are also preparing structures in the area. Feller bunchers are being used to reduce fuel loading along the Bear Lake Road.
The north perimeter of the fire is in mop up status, with crews and engines working into the fire area at various distances which minimize the potential spread or spotting. Any hazards which interfere with access, or pose an immediate hazard to firefighters or the public are being mitigated.
Air assets will be used today as needed based on wind and weather conditions. An additional helicopter will arrive today, providing additional capabilities.
The fire remains within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. The top priorities for fire managers remain firefighter and public safety, incident stabilization and control of the fire perimeter to keep it from spreading beyond the park boundaries, so that residents can return when it is safe.
EVACUATIONS AND CLOSURES
Evacuated residents in the Highway 66 area from Highway 36 up to and including Aspen Brook Drive were allowed to return home Wednesday morning, Dec.5, at 9 a.m. This area will remain in pre-evacuation notice for the near future. Between 9 a.m. and noon only residents and business owners are allowed into this area with identification. After noon, the area will be open to the public.
Officials also announced tentative plans to allow the remaining evacuees in the Highway 66 corridor to return home on Friday morning, Dec. 7. These plans are only tentative and could change based on fire and weather conditions, so no further announcements regarding the possible lifting of evacuation status for this area will be made until Thursday, Dec. 6.
Highway 36 to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park opened at 9 a.m., Wednesday. Beaver Meadows Visitor Center opened to the public at 9 a.m., although the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park via Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance will remain closed. Fall River Visitor Center will go to its normal winter hours and will be closed on Wednesday. For further information on Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park's Information Office at 970-586-1206.
Officials lifted the pre-evacuation notices for residents of High Drive and adjacent streets, as well as residents of the Mary's Lake Road area from Moraine Avenue and Rock Ridge Road south to Highway 7. This also took effect at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
Sign up for emergency notifications at www.leta911.org.
Based on the current needs of evacuees, operations at the Fern Lake Fire evacuation center at Mountain View Bible Fellowship have been adjusted. Hours beginning Wednesday will be 7 a.m.to 7 p.m. until all evacuees are able to return home. Meals have been discontinued.
INCIDENT INFORMATION SOURCES AND BRIEFINGS
Community/evacuee meetings are scheduled daily at 5 p.m. at Estes Park Town Hall until all evacuees have returned home. These meetings have been tentatively scheduled through Friday, Dec. 7. The media is invited to attend; public questions will be addressed first, followed by media questions. Additional media briefings are scheduled for 10 a.m. at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center each day based on the incident status, and will be given by a member of the fire management team.
Information on this fire is available at www.inciweb.org, www.larimer.org, www.nps.gov/romo and on Twitter @inciweb, @larimersheriff, @RMNPofficial and #FernLakeFire. The public information line is 970-577-3716 and the media information line is 970-577-3718. Lines are staffed 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.