Friday, June 14, 2013

Big Meadows Fire Now 30% Contained

Following yesterday's assessment by fire staff, the Big Meadows Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park remains at an estimated 333 acres, and is now 30% contained. Hand crews constructed and strengthened fire lines along the northwest flank of the fire; crews working along Tonahutu Creek continued efforts to install hose lays to strengthen containment along the southern flank of the fire.

Fire-fighting resources on the fire today will include an initial attack module of seven fire-fighters, two interagency 20-person Type I hotshot crews, two interagency 20-person Type II handcrews, and five 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. A total of 266 firefighting personnel are now on hand.

Fire activity today was largely limited to an area on the eastern flank of the fire on south facing slopes. Little change in the weather is anticipated over the next 2-3 days, firefighters will likely experience afternoon winds of 8-12 mph with gusts to 20 mph. A chance for afternoon thunderstorms will persist throughout the weekend but these storms may bring little moisture to the area.

There are still 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 for a mix of clouds and sun. A stray afternoon thunderstorm is possible. High 76F. West winds shifting to SE at 10 to 15 mph. The chance of rain is 20%.


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