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Dry Conditions All Around As Fern Lake Fire Continues To Smolder


Areas of Rocky Mountain National Park did not benefit much from this weekend’s snow fall. Officials say the Fern Lake Fire, which started in early October, could still be smoldering.

National Parks Service spokeswoman Kyle Patterson says the fire won’t likely be declared officially out until sometime in early spring. “We have not seen any active smoke for almost a month. So certainly the moisture we’ve been getting and just the cooler temperatures have helped. But we haven’t received a lot of moisture in those areas, and we won’t be able to say the fire is out until we are able to fly over with an infrared flight.”

There is still an active investigation into the cause of the fire. It is believed to have been from an illegally lit campfire.

Dry conditions are also keeping Larimer County officials from igniting slash piles typically burned around this time of year.  In a statement, Jeffrey Boring, resource specialist with the Larimer County Natural Resources Department said in a normal year, Emergency Service staff burn 50 slash piles a day during the winter.

“…That can total 300-400 piles. Due to the lack of snow events, we’ve burned zero piles thus far.”

Slash piles are branches, needles and other ‘small diameter wood’ produced during forest thinning operations. The county says the piles are generally burned in winter when snow covers the ground.

Boring says there are around 500 slash piles across three open space parks in the county that need to be burned. He’s just waiting for Mother Nature to give him the green light.

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