On Saturday, December 9, rangers and firefighters from Rocky Mountain National Park responded to a fire near Bierstadt Lake. The fire was reported by a park visitor. The fire was contained to a 15 by 50 feet area. When firefighters arrived the fire was smoldering, a few snags were burning with potential to spread to the canopy. Firefighters successfully prevented spread of the fire to the crowns of the trees. Fortunately, winds were low at 10 mph with gusts to 15 mph.
The fire was contained by Saturday afternoon and firefighters hiked to the trailhead at 5 p.m. The cause of the fire was from an illegal campfire and is under investigation. On Thursday, a park visitor reported smelling smoke in the Bierstadt Lake/Bierstadt Trail area. Rangers investigated and did not smell or see smoke. Park rangers are asking for anyone who has information or was in the Bierstadt Lake area on Thursday, December 7, to notify them at (970) 586-1204.
There are always fire restrictions in place at Rocky Mountain National Park. Campfires are only allowed within designated campfire rings at select locations in the park, including picnic areas and campgrounds. Unfortunately, over the past four years park staff have seen a significant increase of illegal campfires.
Due to unseasonably warm and dry conditions as well as lack of snowpack, fire danger is high in Rocky Mountain National Park. These conditions are forecast to continue through this week.