Weather Helping Firefighters In Rocky Mountain National Park
Weather, which has hampered firefighters battling a wildfire in Rocky Mountain National Park, seemed to turn into an ally Monday as cooler temperatures and lighter winds settled over the fire.
While a private cabin in Moraine Park within the park boundaries was lost to the Fern Lake Fire, officials said high winds Sunday and into Monday did not push the fire any closer to the park's eastern gateway town of Estes Park, Colorado.
Roughly 150 firefighters and 18 engines stayed on the fire through the night, and as dawn arrived the total was expected to grow by 100 personnel with more resources en route to the park.
Spot fires continue to burn in the Steep Mountain area through the night and crews were working to keep it from moving further to the south. Structure protection crews were still stationed along Bear Lake Road to try to keep the fire within the park.
Monday's weather forecast called for temperatures in the mid-30s to low 40s and lighter winds, with calm winds expected after sundown.
The fire was mapped at approximately 4,400 acres, with roughly 20 percent of the footprint contained, officials said.
The priorities of fire managers continued to be firefighter and public safety, incident stabilization, and control of the fire perimeter to keep it from spreading beyond the park boundaries so residents may be allowed to re-enter when it is safe for them to do so. Smoke from the fire has been impacting the area, especially during the evening hours.
The east side of Rocky Mountain National Park via Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance is closed, although Fall River Visitor Center remains open.
Residents should be aware that pre-evacuation and evacuation notices could be expanded. No changes in evacuation or pre-evacuation orders had been made since Saturday. Park officials said Monday morning that only individuals with a medical necessity were being allowed to re-enter the evacuation area of the Highway 66 corridor with an escort from the sheriff's office. The Highway 66 corridor, including all adjacent streets, remains closed. Electrical power was reportedly still on in the area.
Residents of Marys Lake Road from Moraine Avenue and Rock Ridge Road south to Highway 7 and Fish Creek Road were to in pre-evacuation status. Pre-evacuation means that residents should be ready to leave if they receive an evacuation notice.
Residents of High Drive and adjacent streets are also on pre-evacuation notice. The residents in this area must present identification to law enforcement at the High Drive road block. No others will be allowed in the area.
The evacuation center is located at the Mountain View Bible Fellowship, located at 1575 South Saint Vrain Ave./Highway 7, at the corner of Peak View Drive. The cooperating agencies, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are staffing this evacuation center. Information is provided to evacuees on site. Large animals may be taken to the Stanley Park Fairgrounds at 1209 Manford Ave.