Friday, June 14, 2013

Big Meadows Fire Update: Estimated at 353 acres

Following yesterday's assessment by fire staff, the Big Meadows Fire is estimated as 353 acres in size; the fire is considered to be 30% contained. Hand crews will continue to strengthen fire lines along the northwest flank of the fire. Crews will also continue to reinforce fire lines along Tonahutu Creek with the goal of completing hose lays, installing sprinklers, improving and mopping up existing burned areas along the southern flank of the fire.

For today, fire-fighting resources on the fire include an initial attack module of eight fire-fighters, two interagency 20-person Type I hotshot crews, two interagency 20-person Type II handcrews, and five fire engines. Three additional Type I hotshot crews have been ordered and should arrive on the fire today. 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.

Fire activity yesterday was largely limited to two areas: an area on the eastern flank of the fire on a south facing slope, and an area along the southern flank of the fire with a similar southern exposure. Little change in the weather is anticipated today. Firefighters will likely experience afternoon winds of 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph, shifting to the west in the early afternoon. A chance for afternoon thunderstorms will persist throughout the weekend but these storms may bring little moisture to the area.

There remains no imminent threat to any communities or structures; Rocky Mountain National Park remains open.

Currently seven trails are 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. Trail closures do affect a section of the Continental Divide Trail that passes through the park.

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

Visitors to the west side of the park are strongly cautioned to be aware of increased traffic and aircraft associated with the fire. "Keep alert, don't get hurt. "


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