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Wind Gusts Fuel Concerns About Fern Lake Fire [Updated]

bjorn Skovlin.jpeg
Bjorn Skovlin

Fern Lake Fire officials were preparing for a night of difficult weather conditions Sunday, with potential sustained wind gusts of up to 75 miles per hour.

Update 6:45 a.m. 12/3: The Fern Lake Fire remains within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park, and is estimated to be 20 percent contained at 3,584 acres. Fire managers report approximately 150 firefighters and 19 engines were on hand.

Spot fires continue to burn in the Steep Mountain area; however, firefighters have made progress in the Moraine Park area. Crews are expected to set a fuel break and prepare for back burning operations to keep the fire from moving farther to the south.

There will be a media briefing this morning at 10 a.m. at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, as well as a 10 a.m. briefing for evacuees.

The Fern Lake Fire doubled inside the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park Friday and most recently was estimated at about 3,580 acres. The change of conditions over the weekend prompted hundreds of evacuations, and officials warn more could come.

The good news according to Fern Lake Fire PIO Traci Weaver is that there will be more resources on the ground Sunday evening compared to Friday night—including about 120 firefighters and 19 structure engines.

“The thing that will help us is that we have a good area around Moraine Park all the way back to the old burn,” she said during a Sunday evening press conference.

Weaver explained that’s good news because it means the fire—which is estimated at 20 percent contained—can’t run through the same territory it’s already burned.

Air crews including several helitankers attempted to make water drops Sunday but were grounded due to high winds. A red flag warning for the Estes Park area remains in effect until Monday morning at 6 a.m.

A Type I Incident Management Team assumed responsibility for Fern Lake Fire management Sunday. So far only one private cabin has been confirmed as lost to the fire.

It was started on October 9.

To see the most recent evacuation and pre-evacuation orders, click here.

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.
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