Fern Lake Fire Updates
FERN LAKE FIRE UPDATE
Yesterday evening management of the fire was scaled down from a Type 3 to a Type 4 Rocky Mountain National Park organization, reflecting a less complex fire with reduced fire behavior. The Incident Command Post and all other functions have also moved back into the park. Firefighters did not conduct any direct suppression activities on the fire yesterday due to safety concerns from cold temperatures and unsafe footing from ice and snow in the fire area. They monitored from various locations to ensure that the fire stayed within containment lines. Very little fire activity was observed. Only a few smokes from within containment lines were visible.
TODAY’S PLANNED ACTIVITIES
Firefighters will hike to locations on the fireline where known heat remains to determine risks and suppression opportunities. They will also check areas of the fireline that are cold to assess opportunities for fireline rehabilitation efforts. Firefighter and public safety continue to remain the top priority while suppressing the Fern Lake Fire within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. Smoke and potentially open flames will be visible for an extended period. This smoke comes from well within the burned area and poses no threat of escape from containment lines. Now that Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park has reopened, park officials ask the public to observe all trail and area closures within the fire area for their own safety. Many hazards remain, such as weakened trees, hot spots and wind-blown ash. The Town of Estes Park and its businesses are open for visitors and holiday shopping.
Bear Lake Road has reopened. Because the wildfire is still active and burning north of the Steep Mountain and Mount Wuh areas and in Forest Canyon there are numerous trail and area closures. A closure area is in effect, including Moraine Park, the Cub Lake Trail, Fern Lake Trail, the Fern Lake Road beyond the winter parking, the Hollowell Park/Mill Creek Basin area, and the Fern Lake Trail beyond Lake Helene. Please obey all closure notices. Violators will be cited and fined. A recorded fire information message is available at 970-586-1381, and fire information is available on the park website, www.nps.gov/romo and at www.inciweb.org. A fire and smoking ban is in effect until further notice in the backcountry of the park east of the Continental Divide. The Bear Lake Road Reconstruction project will continue through the winter, though delays will be minimal. The new realignment has opened. Moraine Park Campground was not burned in the fire, and is open. Timber Creek Campground is open. Both are on a first-come, first-served basis through the winter. Beaver Meadows and Kawuneeche visitor centers are open daily; Fall River Visitor Center is open weekends and dailyDecember 23 through January 1, except all park visitor centers are closed on Christmas Day. Information about ranger-led programs and activities in the park is available at visitor centers, in the park newspaper and on the park website www.nps.gov/romo or by calling the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.
INCIDENT INFORMATION SOURCES AND BRIEFINGS
No further public information briefings are planned unless conditions change. Information on the Fern Lake Fire is available at www.inciweb.org, www.larimer.org, and www.nps.gov/romo and on Twitter @inciweb, @larimersheriff, @RMNPofficial and #FernLakeFire. Sign up for emergency notifications at www.leta911.org.
FIRE INFORMATION TELEPHONE CHANGE
The public information line — 970-577-3716 — will remain in operation until noon toady. Beginning at noon, the information center will be relocated to the Incident Command Post at Rocky Mountain Park Inn. Please call 970-586-2333, ext 473 or ext. 474. The media information line is 970-586-2333, ext. 452. Lines will be staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.