Fern Lake Update Dec. 9, 9 Am
Incident: Fern Lake Wildfire
Fern Lake Fire Update
For Immediate Release: December 9, 2012, 9 a.m.
Public Information: 970-586-2333 (ext 473 or 474)
Media Information: 970-586-2333 (ext.452)
Date started: October 9, 2012
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park
Size: 3,498 acres
Percent Contained: 60
Cause: Under Investigation
Structures lost: 1
Injuries to Date: None
Cost to Date: $5.8 million
Number of Personnel: 361
Crews: 10 (A crew typically consists of 20 firefighters.)
Firefighter and public safety remain the top priority while suppressing the Fern Lake Fire within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. Smoke and potentially open flames will be visible for an extended period. This smoke comes from well within the burned area and poses no threat of escape from containment lines.
Cold temperatures, with heavy snow later in the day, forced firefighters from the fireline because of safety concerns. Snow accumulations were 4 to 6 inches in the fire area. The snow cover will prevent further spread, although the fire will continue to smolder in heavy fuels.
Crews removed debris created by fire line construction along the northeast perimeter, and removed fire hose laid out to protect structures in, and in the vicinity of, the YMCA.
Crews and equipment continue to be demobilized, as fire suppression objectives are met. Adequate firefighting resources are being retained to continue suppression efforts, if fire behavior increases.
All pre-evacuation and evacuation orders have been lifted and all residents have been allowed to return to their homes.
TODAY'S PLANNED ACTIVITIES
Most of the accessible fire perimeter will remain in patrol and monitor status.
If weather conditions allow, supervisors will attempt to hike to the southwest flank from Fern Lake Trailhead Road to evaluate opportunities for control lines. The "notch" area will also be evaluated.
If wind and snow create unsafe working conditions, firefighters will again leave the fire area and stage in Estes Park, available for a three-minute response. Additional accumulations ranging from 1 to 2 inches are expected.
Rod Moraga was succinct in reporting on today's expected fire behavior at morning briefing: "There will be none," he said.
A community meeting will be held at the Estes Park Town Hall on Monday, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. Park officials and fire managers will provide information on current fire conditions and what residents and visitors can expect to see in the fire area in the coming months. This meeting can be viewed on local cable Channel 12 and will be live streamed from the Estes Park Town web site.
The Town of Estes Park and all its businesses are open for visitors and holiday shopping.
Rocky Mountain National Park officials have opened the park on a limited basis. Visitors may enter the park through Highway 34, the Fall River Entrance, and Highway 36, the Beaver Meadows Entrance. Weather permitting; the road will be open to Many Parks Curve, the normal winter closure point on Trail Ridge Road. Bear Lake Road will remain closed until further notice because of fire operations. Upper Beaver Meadows, Hidden Valley, and trails leading into the area around the Fern Lake Fire remain closed. Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fall River Visitor Center is open weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park Information Office at 970-586-1206 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily.
INCIDENT INFORMATION SOURCES
Information on the Fern Lake Fire is available at www.inciweb.org, www.larimer.org and www.nps.gov/romo on Twitter @inciweb, @larimersheriff, @RMNPofficial and #FernLakeFire. Sign up for emergency notifications at www.leta911.org.