Release Date: Dec 3, 2012
Larimer County Sheriff's Office
John Schulz, Public Information Officer
Issued by Fern Lake Fire Information
Fern Lake Fire Update
For Immediate Release: December 3, 2012, 9 p.m.
(Joint Information Center Open Daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Date started: October 9, 2012
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park
Size: 3,750 acres
Percent Contained: 40%
Cause: Under Investigation
Structures threatened: 1,000
Structures lost: 1
Injuries to Date: None
Cost to Date: $1.9 million
Number of Personnel: 250
Water Tenders: 11
Firefighters made good progress today after a night during which strong winds tested completed firelines. All lines successfully held with only a few spot fires outside the lines. The fire remains within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. Favorable weather conditions today gave firefighters an opportunity to work on spot fires in the Steep Mountain area, using both ground and aerial resources. A handline is being constructed from the west side of Moraine Park along the southern portion of Steep Mountain in preparation for a possible burn-out to strengthen that section of the line. A feller-buncher (a machine that cuts and stacks trees) worked along the Bear Lake Road, helping to reduce the fuel load. Structure assessments continue in evacuated areas to the east and southeast of the fire area. Engines will patrol evacuated areas tonight to watch for any fire activity.
The priorities of fire managers continue to be firefighter and public safety, incident stabilization and control of the fire perimeter to keep it from spreading beyond the park boundaries, so that residents can return when it is safe.
The east side of Rocky Mountain National Park via Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance is closed. The Fall River Visitor Center remains open.
Evacuations and Closures
Sheriff Justin Smith and Fern Lake Fire managers announced Monday evening that tentative plans are being made to allow some residents from the Highway 66 evacuation area to return home on Wednesday morning, December 5 at 9:00 a.m.
Officials hope to open the Highway 66 evacuation area from Highway 36 up to and including Aspen Brook Drive. This area would be placed on pre-evacuation status.
Highway 36 to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park would also open at this time. 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.
Homes and businesses on Highway 66 beyond Aspen Brook Drive will continue to remain evacuated until conditions allow their return.
These plans are only tentative and could change based on fire and weather conditions at the time.
There will be no change to the existing areas that are currently on pre-evacuation status. These areas include the High Drive and adjacent streets area and the Mary's Lake Road area from Moraine Avenue and Rock Ridge Road south to Highway 7 and Fish Creek Road.
Residents in the pre-evacuation areas are asked to remain vigilant and be prepared to leave at a moment's notice.
An updated map has been posted to inciweb.org.
Sign up for emergency notifications at www.leta911.org . Changes in current evacuation and pre-evacuation orders are also made through reverse notification.
The scope and necessity of evacuations is continuously evaluated.
At this time, only individuals with a medical necessity are 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 in evacuation. Electrical power is 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 are 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.
INCIDENT INFORMATION SOURCES AND BRIEFINGS
Information on this fire is available at www.inciweb.org and www.larimer.org and on Twitter @inciweb, and @larimersheriff and #FernLakeFire. The public information line is 970-577-3716 (Open 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.)
The media Information line: 970-577-3718 (Open 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.)