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News Release

#FernLakeFire Update for December 6 at 9:00 p.m.

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Department: Sheriff
Release Date: Dec 6, 2012

Contact Information:

Larimer County Sheriff's Office
John Schulz, Public Information Officer
Issued by Fern Lake Fire Information

Fern Lake Fire Update 

For Immediate Release: December 6, 2012, 9 p.m.

Public Information: 970-577-3716,
(Joint Information Center open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Date started: October 9, 2012
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park
Size: 3,492 acres 
Percent Contained: 45
Cause: Under Investigation
Structures threatened: 750
Structures lost: 1
Injuries to Date: None
Cost to Date: $4.8 million
Number of Personnel: 569
Crews: 16 (A crew consists of 20 firefighters.) 
Engines: 35
Water Tenders: 3
Helicopters: 5
Containment on the Fern Lake Fire increased to 45 percent on Thursday, as crews continued to secure the southern fire perimeter between Steep Mountain and Moraine Park.
Lighter winds allowed two heavy helicopters -- a K-MAX and a Skycrane -- to drop more than 31,000 gallons of water on the southern flank. 
The helicopters avoided dropping water on active fire in a steep canyon, or "notch", to the west of Steep Mountain. Firefighters are waiting for the canyon's chimney effect to burn out its heavy fuels. Crews will be able to safely engage the fire when it reaches the canyon rim. 
Assessment also began on the area west of Mill Creek Basin to determine if ground resources could successfully and safely secure the fire edge there.
The secured northern perimeter of the fire is now in patrol status. Mechanical fuels treatment continued along Bear Lake Road. Firefighters are transporting cleared material to a disposal area adjacent to Moraine Park. 
Smoke and possibly open flames from the burned area and from spot fires will be visible for an extended period. This smoke comes from well within the burned area and poses no threat of escape from the containment lines.
Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith and Fern Lake Fire managers announced this afternoon that all remaining Fern Lake Fire evacuations will be lifted at 9 a.m. on Friday.  Because of continued favorable fire and weather conditions, residents of the Highway 66 area south of Aspen Brook Drive will be allowed to return home Friday morning. 
Affected residents will receive a reverse emergency notification at approximately 7 a.m. on Friday.
Between 9 a.m. and noon on Friday, only residents and business owners with identification will be allowed into this area.  At noon, the area will be open to the public. 
All residents of the Highway 66 area will remain on pre-evacuation status until Saturday and should be prepared to leave immediately, if conditions worsen.
Highway 36 to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park is now open. The visitor center is also open. The east side of the park, accessed from the Beaver Meadows and Fall River entrances, remains closed. Fall River Visitor Center has returned to its normal winter weekend hours. For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park's Information Office at 970-586-1206
The Town of Estes Park is unaffected by the fire, with all businesses operating at normal seasonal hours. 
Information on the Fern Lake Fire is available, and on Twitter @inciweb, @larimersheriff, @RMNPofficial and #FernLakeFire. 
Sign up for emergency notifications at
The public information line -- 970-577-3716 -- will remain in operation until noon Friday. Beginning at noon Friday, the information center will be relocated to the Incident Command Post  (ICP) at Rocky Mountain Park Inn. Please call 970-586-2333, ext. 473 or ext. 474. Lines will be staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The media information line number is 970-577-3718 until tonight at 10 p.m. Beginning Friday morning at 8 a.m., the media should call the Information Office at the ICP at 970-586-2333, ext. 452.     
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