Sunday, June 16, 2013

Big Meadows Fire Update: Grows to 603 Acres, But is 60% Contained

Following Friday's burnout operation, and the reinforcement of containment lines by crews working the Big Meadows Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday afternoon, the fire is now considered to be 60% contained and encompasses 603 acres according to the latest Inciweb update this morning.

Operations for today will emphasize the continued reinforcement of containment lines and rehabilitation of areas where crews were required to fall trees. Crews have emphasized 'minimum impact suppression tactics' during their effort to suppress the fire and will continue to do so during rehabilitation. Throughout the incident, air operations has used best management practices to prevent the cross-contamination of watersheds related to water use on the fire.

Fire-fighting resources on the fire today, June 16, will include two wildland fire modules of eight fire-fighters each, four interagency 20-person Type I hotshot crews, and two fire engines. Available air resources include two 'air attack' small planes used for fire reconnaissance, two light helicopters, a medium helicopter, and one large heavy helicopter. A National Guard Blackhawk helicopter remains on standby to assist fire operations in the event of a medical emergency. As containment lines are strengthened and rehabilitation progresses, it is likely that resources will begin to be reassigned to other fires in the region.

Weather for today will be similar to that experienced yesterday; high temperatures will approach 70 degrees, relative humidity will be moderate, winds will be generally 8-10 mph with gusts in the afternoon that approaching 30 mph. This pattern will likely persist for the next three days. An approaching high pressure system arriving to the area Wednesday, however, may bring higher temperatures, lower humidity, and erratic winds that may increase fire danger. The growth potential of this fire remains extreme.

The Timber Lake Trail will be open for day use only. Closures will continue in effect for the Onahu Trail, the Green Mountain Trail, and the lower Tonahutu Trail. Trail closures do affect a section of the Continental Divide Trail that passes through the park.

The Big Meadows fire continues to pose no imminent threat to any communities or structures; Rocky Mountain National Park remains open. All major roads and facilities in Rocky Mountain National Park are open as are the neighboring communities of Grand Lake and Estes Park.


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