Thursday, June 13, 2013

Big Meadows Fire Grows To 600 Acres

The Big Meadows Fire grew to an estimated 600 acres with no containment as of last night.  Winds were not as strong yesterday, which resulted in less fire activity and spread. Firefighters conducted numerous recon flights which will be crucial in planning efforts. The fire is burning in remote, steep, rugged terrain with extensive hazards and more than 80 percent beetle killed trees. The plan continues to be to hold the fire east of Trail Ridge Road (Highway 34), west of the Continental Divide, and north of Tonahutu Creek. There are no structures or communities at immediate risk.

A map published on InciWeb yesterday shows the fire is currently located just north of Granite Falls, and towards the east of Big Meadows, roughly 4.5 miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead.

There are 107 firefighters currently on the Big Meadows Fire plus the Type II team who will be taking over command of the fire from the Boise Smokejumper Type III team this morning. Air resources include one Type I helicopter, one Type II helicopter and two Type III helicopters. Many firefighters planned to camp out near the fire last night in order to get an early morning start to continue with fire suppression tactics.

A challenge continues to be filling additional Type I crews. Due to other fires in Colorado, as well as in other states that are impacting communities and homes, resources are being spread across the nation.

There are now seven trails that have been temporarily closed in the area - the Onahu Trail, the Green Mountain Trail, the lower Tonahutu Trail, the Tonahutu Spur Trail, the Grand Lake Lodge Spur Trail, the Timber Lake Trail and the trail which branches toward Mount Ida from Milner Pass.

All major roads and facilities in Rocky Mountain National Park are open as are the neighboring communities of Grand Lake and Estes Park.

The park has set up a recorded Fire Information Line at (970) 586-1381 which will be updated when new information on the Big Meadows Fire is available.

The weather forecast for today for the Grand Lake area calls variable clouds with scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly during the afternoon hours. High 78F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph, and the chance of rain is 40%.


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