Fern Lake Fire Update 12-14-12
Incident: Fern Lake Wildfire
Fern Lake Fire Update
For Immediate Release: December 14, 2012, 10 a.m.
Public Information: 970-586-1206.
Date started: October 9, 2012
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park
Size: 3,498 acres
Percent Contained: 88
Cause: believed to have been associated with an illegal campfire in lower Forest Canyon. The investigation remains open.
Structures lost: 1
Injuries to Date: None
Cost to Date: $6.5 million
Number of Personnel: 15
This will be the last update sent out unless fire activity changes significantly.
The new phone number for information regarding both Rocky Mountain National Park and the Fern Lake Fire is 970-586-1206 (staffed daily 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).
The fire is now being managed by a Type 4 Rocky Mountain National Park organization, reflecting a less complex fire with reduced fire behavior. The Incident Command Post and all other functions have moved back into the park. Firefighters hiked into active areas of the fire and put out hot spots where it was safe to do so. They also assessed damages to park trails and infrastructure such as bridges, hitching rails and backcountry campsites that may have been damaged by the fire. Fire activity picked up slightly yesterday due to warmer temperatures, lower relative humidity and windy conditions. Smoke was more visible than in the last few days, but still coming from areas well within containment lines.
TODAY'S PLANNED ACTIVITIES
Firefighters will again hike into safe locations in the fire area and put out hot spots where they can.
They will also check areas of the fireline that are cold to assess opportunities for possible fireline rehabilitation efforts. No aerial resources are assigned to the fire, but are available if needed.
Firefighter and public safety continue to 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.
Now that Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park has reopened, park officials ask the public to observe all trail and area closures within the fire area for their own safety. Many hazards remain, such as weakened trees, hot spots and wind-blown ash.
The Town of Estes Park and its businesses are open for visitors and holiday shopping.
PARK CLOSURES/RE-OPENINGSBear Lake Road has reopened. Because the wildfire is still active and burning north of the Steep Mountain and Mount Wuh areas and in Forest Canyon there are numerous trail and area closures. A closure area is in effect, including Moraine Park, the Cub Lake Trail, Fern Lake Trail, the Fern Lake Road beyond the winter parking, the Hollowell Park/Mill Creek Basin area, and the Fern Lake Trail beyond Lake Helene. Please obey all closure notices. Violators will be cited and fined. A recorded fire information message is available at 970-586-1381, and fire information is available on the park website, www.nps.gov/romo and at www.inciweb.org. A fire and smoking ban is in effect until further notice in the backcountry of the park east of the Continental Divide. The Bear Lake Road Reconstruction project will continue through the winter, though delays will be minimal. The new realignment has opened.
Moraine Park Campground was not burned in the fire, and is open. Timber Creek Campground is open. Both are on a first-come, first-served basis through the winter.
Beaver Meadows and Kawuneeche visitor centers are open daily; Fall River Visitor Center is open weekends and daily December 23 through January 1, except all park visitor centers are closed on Christmas Day. Information about ranger-led programs and activities in the park is available at visitor centers, in the park newspaper and on the park website www.nps.gov/romo or by calling the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206.
INCIDENT INFORMATION SOURCESInformation on the Fern Lake Fire is available at www.nps.gov/romo and www.inciweb.org, and on Twitter @inciweb, @RMNPofficial. Sign up for emergency notifications at www.leta911.org.