Fern Lake Update -- December 4, 2012 Pm
Incident: Fern Lake Wildfire
Fern Lake Fire Update
For Immediate Release: December 4, 2012, 9 p.m.
Public Information: 970-577-3716
(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
Today was another day of progress for firefighters on the Fern Lake Fire. Most of the work was focused in the Steep Mountain area where many hot spots remain. An air tanker dropped one load of retardant in the area but due to gusty winds, it was ineffective. No further retardant drops were attempted. Water was dropped from helicopters in the same area supporting the firefighters on the ground. A containment line was constructed east of Steep Mountain across the South Lateral Moraine down to Hallowell Park. This will serve as the first line of defense if the fire were to move east, in addition to another defensive line already constructed along Bear Lake Road. Some rehabilitation efforts may begin to occur along containment lines that show no sign of heat. Winds and low humidity continue to allow fire spread, although the perimeter of the fire has not changed much in the past 24 hours.
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 will be allowed to return home Wednesday morning, Dec.5, at 9 a.m. Emergency notifications will be sent at 7 a.m. Wednesday to residents able to return home. This area will remain in pre-evacuation notice for the near future. Between 9 a.m. and noon only residents and business owners will be allowed into this area with identification. After noon, the area will be open to the public.
Highway 36 to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park will also open at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Beaver Meadows Visitor Center will open 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 have also announced plans to lift the pre-evacuation notices for residents of High Drive and adjacent streets, as well as residents of the Marys Lake Road area from Moraine Avenue and Rock Ridge Road south to Highway 7, also to take effect at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Residents of these pre-evacuation areas will also receive an emergency notification at 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Officials also announced that tentative plans are being made 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. Fire crews are expecting high winds on Wednesday evening, so no further announcements regarding the possible lifting of evacuation status for this area will be made until Thursday, Dec. 6.
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 has been adjusted and the center closed at 8 p.m tonight. The evacuation center will open at 7 a.m. Wednesday, serving breakfast to evacuees. Hours of operation beginning Wednesday will be 7 a.m.to 7 p.m. until all evacuees are able to return home. Meals will be discontinued after Wednesday breakfast.
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 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.