Firefighters kept a watchful eye on the Fern Lake Fire last night, which remained quiet on the perimeter with some tree torching in insulated canyons where remaining heavy fuels continue to burn out. The focus for today is the Steep Mountain area, specifically the fireline from the Mill Creek Trail to the west of Steep Mountain, then east to the junction of the Moraine Park Trail and the Cub Lake Trail. Numerous spots are still causing concerns. Multiple handcrews will be working along this fireline, extinguishing spots which could become issues during continued wind events. Crews are also preparing structures in the area. Feller bunchers are being used to reduce fuel loading along the Bear Lake Road.
The north perimeter of the fire is in mop up status, with crews and engines working into the fire area at various distances which minimize the potential spread or spotting. Any hazards which interfere with access, or pose an immediate hazard to firefighters or the public are being mitigated.
Air assets will be used today as needed based on wind and weather conditions. An additional helicopter will arrive today, providing additional capabilities.
So far the fire has remained within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. To date, the fire has burned 3,477 acres. Here is the latest map showing the boundaries of the fire:
Highway 36 to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park opened at 9 a.m., Wednesday. Beaver Meadows Visitor Center opened 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.
Some Evacuees Allowed to Return to Homes:
Evacuated residents in the Highway 66 area from Highway 36 up to and including Aspen Brook Drive were allowed to return home Wednesday morning, Dec.5, at 9 a.m. This area will remain in pre-evacuation notice for the near future. Between 9 a.m. and noon only residents and business owners are allowed into this area with identification. After noon, the area will be open to the public.
Officials also announced tentative plans 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, so no further announcements regarding the possible lifting of evacuation status for this area will be made until Thursday, Dec. 6.
For the latest updates on the fire, closings and community meetings, visit the Inciweb website. To keep up with the latest weather related developments and forecasts, please click here.