Saturday, December 1, 2012

Evacuations for 700+ ordered for Fern Lake Fire near Estes Park

Update as of 1 pm: Firefighters are holding the Fern Lake Fire within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. Fire managers are cautiously optimistic regarding management of the fire as winds are not as extreme as they were overnight. The priorities for are: Firefighter and public safety Incident stabilization Controlling the fire perimeter keeping the fire from spreading beyond the park boundaries so residents may be allowed to re-enter when it is safe for them to do so. Multiple resources are on order, including a Type I Incident Management team, hot shot crews, additional engines, two additional type I helicopters, and all available local resources.


Strong winds overnight have pushed the Fern Lake Fire into the Moraine Park area of Rocky Mountain National Park.

As a result, more than 700 people living near Estes Park were ordered to evacuate this morning. According to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, evacuations have been ordered for: Highway 66 and all adjacent streets including the YMCA High Drive; and all adjacent streets on Marys Lake Road up to Moraine Ave and Marys Lake on the West side.

Evacuees were asked to meet at Estes Park High School at 1600 Manford Avenue in Estes Park. Larimer County Sheriff's Office and Estes Park Police Department are facilitating evacuations. The affected public may call 970-498-5500 for more information.

The Moraine Park Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park was also evacuated at 1:50 a.m.

As of 4:00 a.m. this morning, December 1st, the fire had not crossed Bear Lake Road. However, parts of the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park is now closed until further notice. The park housing area as well as park headquarters and Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is also in the evacuation area. Currently, other RMNP areas on the east side are open, including Lumpy Ridge, Lily Lake, Longs Peak, Wild Basin. The Fall River Visitor Center and the west side of the park are currently open.

The higher winds have contributed to increased fire behavior and a spot fire in the southwest corner of the fire, west of the confluence of the Forest and Spruce Canyons. The fire is burning actively and creating additional spot fires from embers that have landed on receptive fuel beds. Increased smoke from the additional fire behavior may be more noticeable. The fire is now estimated to be 1515 acres.

A high wind warning is in effect until 11 a.m. today, which includes west winds of 25-45 mph, with gusts up to 75 mph possible.

For the latest updates on the fire, visit the Inciweb website. To keep up with the latest weather related developments and forecasts, please click here.


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