Fern Lake Fire Update 12/06/2012 Am
Incident: Fern Lake Wildfire
Fern Lake Fire Update
For Immediate Release: December 6, 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: 3,486 acres (Current estimate due to better mapping)
Percent Contained: 40%
Cause: Under Investigation
Structures threatened: 750
Structures lost: 1
Injuries to Date: None
Cost to Date: $4 million
Number of Personnel: 608
Crews: 16 (A crew consists of 20 firefighters.)
Water Tenders: 5
Cooler temperatures with the possibility of rain and snow should help firefighters on the Fern Lake Fire today, but because of long-term drought conditions, significant precipitation will be needed to moderate fire behavior.
On the southern perimeter of the fire, numerous crews are working to complete a portion of the containment line in the saddle between Steep Mountain and Mount Wuh.
A steep canyon, or "notch," to the west of Steep Mountain continues to act like a chimney, pulling fire to its top. Crews are waiting for fire to burn out the heavy fuels in the canyon, allowing them to engage the fire in a safer location.
Resources on the northern perimeter of the fire are expected to be reduced today and the area downgraded to patrol status. Mechanical fuels treatment will continue along Bear Lake Road.
Because of the reduced threat of fire and the return of some evacuated residents, seven engines were released this morning.
Suppressing the fire within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park and protecting the community remains a top priority for fire managers, along with providing for firefighter and public safety.
A Colorado Army National Guard helicopter and crew remain on standby for rescue operations on the Fern Lake Fire. A UH-60 Black Hawk, with a crew of four soldiers and a medic, are based at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., ready to respond from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
EVACUATIONS AND CLOSURES
Evacuation orders remain in place for residents for the Highway 66 area, north of Aspen Brook Drive, but officials hope to allow them to return home Friday morning, if fire and weather conditions permit. Residents of the Highway 66 area south of Aspen Brook Drive were able to return home yesterday, but remain under pre-evacuation notice.
Officials have lifted the pre-evacuation notices for residents of High Drive and adjacent streets, and for residents of the Mary's Lake Road area from Moraine Avenue and Rock Ridge Road, south to Highway 7.
Highway 36 to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park is now open, as is the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. The east side of the park, accessed from the Beaver Meadows and Fall River entrances, remains closed. Fall River Visitor Center returned to its normal winter weekend hours. For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park's Information Office at 970-586-1206.
The Fern Lake Fire evacuation center at Mountain View Bible Fellowship will remain open from 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 will be held daily at 5 p.m. at Estes Park Town Hall until all evacuees have returned home. Depending on fire and weather conditions today, officials hope to allow the remaining evacuees to return home Friday morning, and these tentative re-entry plans will be discussed at today's meeting. The media is invited to attend the community meeting and ask questions after all resident questions are addressed. A media briefing will be held at 10 a.m. at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center today.
Information on the Fern Lake Fire is available at www.inciweb.org, www.larimer.org, and www.nps.gov/romo and on Twitter @inciweb, @larimersheriff, @RMNPofficial and #FernLakeFire. Sign up for emergency notifications at www.leta911.org.
UPCOMING PHONE CHANGE
The public information line 970-577-3716 will remain in operation until noon Friday. Beginning at noon Friday, the information center will be relocated to the Incident Command Post (ICP) at Rocky Mountain Park Inn. Please call 970-586-2333, ext 473 or ext. 474. Lines will be staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The media information line is 970-577-3718 until tonight at 10 p.m. Beginning Friday morning at 8 a.m., the media should call the Information Office at the ICP at 970-586-2333, ext. 452.