Cold weather and snow are welcomed by select groups of people every year such as snowboarders, skiers, ice-climbers, ice skaters, etc. But this year, firefighters in the Rocky Mountains National Park are also among the thankful.
Only about two inches of snow fell in the area of the park that has been affected by a large and long-lasting forest fire effectively preventing any further spread, according to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. Over the December 1 to 2 weekend, the fire flared up to twice its size from 1,500 acres to 3,498, but it has since been 88 percent contained.
The fire began on October 9. Officials suspect an illegal campfire in the lower Forest Canyon sparked it, but that is still under investigation.
View a news report from the time that the fire doubled in size.
Firefighters will begin rehabilitation activities as soon as weather conditions allow. Rocky Mountain National Park officials have opened the park on a limited basis. Visitors may enter the park through Highway 34, the Fall River Entrance, and Highway 36, the Beaver Meadows Entrance. Certains trails are still closed. For specific questions, visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park Information Office at 970-586-1206 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (mountain time) daily.
While nobody has been injured, many area residents were evacuated and feared that their homes might burn down as they did earlier this summer during one of Colorado’s worst wildfires in history. The nearly 20,000 acre fire that burned through June and July in Larimer County took at least 350 homes, caused more than 30,000 to be evacuated and claimed a handful of lives as well. The current Fern Lake Fire, as its being called, has not injured anyone yet, although one cabin did get burned by it.
At least $6.3 million has been poured into the firefighting effort. Crews continue to battle it while they welcome the cold and wet weather.