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Snow Helps Tamp Down Fern Lake Fire

Rocky Mountain National Park

Two to four inches of snow overnight helped calm a stubborn wildfire in Rocky Mountain National Park though the 1,030 acre Fern Lake Fire is still just 17 percent contained. Park spokeswoman Patty Bean says they had to pull firefighters off the lines today because of slick conditions and safety concerns.

Bean says the fire is still smoldering and creeping in many areas of the park that were protected from snowfall. She says the weather is cooperating, but the fire is far from out.

"Not all of the fire was put out by the snow, so there's still heat. In this fire there is a lot of dead and down, in some places it's six feet deep. In that, there is still fire that is still warm. That warmth will help dry out the fuel again plus as the snow melts and evaporates that will help dry out the fuels again. So between the heat that is already there and some of the hot spots that will probably persist, there is potential for it to start again."

Another 1 to 2 inches of snow is expected tonight. But the forecast shows dry, windy and warmer conditions returning to the region early next week which could help reignite the blaze.

The Moraine Park Campground is open, but an area closure is still in effect. The Fern Lake Fire was first reported Tuesday, Oct. 9.  The cause is under investigation.

My journalism career started in college when I worked as a reporter and Weekend Edition host for WEKU-FM, an NPR member station in Richmond, KY. I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.A. in broadcast journalism.
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