11:12am

Wed December 5, 2012
Wildfires

Fern Lake Fire Lines Hold; Evacuees Return Home

Despite strong winds, firefighters have been able to keep the Fern Lake Fire within Rocky Mountain National Park. The blaze is now estimated at 3,477 acres with 40 percent containment.

Officials allowed many of the evacuees from the Highway 66 area from Highway 36 up to and including Aspen Brook Drive to go home at 9 a.m. The area will open to the public at noon. However, officials say it will remain under a pre-evacuation notice until conditions improve.  

The tentative plan is to allow the remaining evacuees in the Highway 66 corridor to return home Friday morning.

Officials lifted the pre-evacuation notices Wednesday morning for residents of High Drive and adjacent streets, as well as residents of the Mary's Lake Road area from Moraine Avenue and Rock Ridge Road south to Highway 7.

Highway 36 to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park also opened at 9 a.m.  this morning. But, the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park via Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance will remain closed.

More than 500 personnel are on the scene today. Firefighters plan to continue work along the fire line to extinguish hot spots that could become issues during continued wind events. That includes the fire line from the Mill Creek Trail to the west of Steep Mountain, then east to the junction of the Moraine Park Trail and the Cub Lake trail.

Air assets will be used on an as needed basis based on wind and weather conditions. An additional helicopter will be arriving today.

The fire started Oct. 9 and has cost $3.2 million to fight. Officials believe the source of the blaze to be an illegal escaped campfire, but specifics are still under investigation.

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