Size Of Cow Creek Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park Greatly Reduced

Another mapping of the Cow Creek Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park has reduced the acreage involved to fewer than 900 acres. NPS graphic.

Fire bosses on the Cow Creek Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park once again have revised the size of the wildfire. This time, though, they nearly halved the previous measurement, dropping what once was thought to be a 1,500-acre blaze to 888 acres.

While the fire's size was estimated at 1,528 acres Sunday evening, Monday morning the much lower figure of 888 acres was released "due to better mapping," officials said.

The blaze, burning in a lodgepole forest, was spotted June 24 about 1 mile south of Mount Dickinson near the northern edge of the park. It's thought that lightening sparked the fire.

Although burning in the backcountry and naturally caused, the decision to fight the fire rather than to let it burn naturally was made because "of other fires in the state and available resources, weather forecast of high winds and low humidity, as well as the proximity to the community of Glen Haven," park spokesman Kyle Patterson said last week.

The area, about 7 miles from the nearest road, is heavily timbered, and some of the trees had been killed by mountain pine beetle infestations, which have plagued other parts of Rocky Mountain.

On Friday, officials closed the McGraw Ranch Road to the public so it could better handle firefighting traffic. Residents in the area so far were not being asked to leave their homes. Park staff also closed the North Fork Trail, the Cow Creek Trail, the North Boundary Trail, and the Dunraven/North Fork Trail as precautionary measures.

On Sunday and into Monday fire crews "established additional remote bases to support continued operations in the wilderness. Engine crews in the Glen Haven area continued structure identification and assessment operations," a release from the fire camp said.