Lightning Caused Big Meadows Fire Increases In Size
All fire updates courtesy of the Rocky Mountain National Park Service.
Big Meadows Fire Grows To 600 Acres
No Structures Or Communities At Risk
The Big Meadows Fire grew to an estimated 600 acres with no containment. Winds were not as strong today which resulted in less fire activity and spread. Firefighters conducted numerous recon flights which will be crucial in planning efforts. The fire is burning in remote, steep, rugged terrain with extensive hazards and more than 80 percent beetle killed trees. The plan continues to be to hold the fire east of Trail Ridge Road (Highway 34), west of the Continental Divide, and north of Tonahutu Creek. There are no structures or communities at immediate risk.
There are 107 firefighters currently on the Big Meadows Fire plus the Type II team who will be taking over command of the fire from the Boise Smokejumper Type III team tomorrow. Air resources include one Type I helicopter, one Type II helicopter and two Type III helicopters. Many firefighters will be camping out near the fire tonight to get an early morning start to continue with fire suppression tactics.
A challenge continues to be filling additional Type I crews. Due to other fires in Colorado, as well as in other states that are impacting communities and homes, resources are being spread across the nation.
Currently, there are seven trails that are temporarily closed in the area – the Onahu Trail, the Green Mountain Trail, the lower Tonahutu Trail, the Tonahutu Spur Trail, the Grand Lake Lodge Spur Trail, the Timber Lake Trail and the trail which branches toward Mount Ida from Milner Pass. All major roads and facilities in Rocky Mountain National Park are open as are our neighboring communities of Grand Lake and Estes Park.
The park has set up a recorded Fire Information Line at (970) 586-1381 which will be updated when new information on the Big Meadows Fire is available.
For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.
At 6:00 AM today the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team A , Shane Del Grosso Incident Commander, accepted management of the Big Meadows Fire. An Incident Command Post has been established at the Granby High School.
The Big Meadows Fire is located approximately five miles north of the community of Grand Lake, and three miles east of Trail Ridge Road (Highway 34). The fire was caused by lightning and is burning in mixed conifer forest types with a component of beetle-killed trees in lodgepole pine.
Based on a flight last night to map the perimeter of the fire using thermal imagery, the size of the fire has been more accurately estimated at 333 acres. Fire-fighting resources on the fire now include a National Park Service initial attack module of seven persons, two interagency 20-person hotshot crews, and ten fire engines. Available air resources include an ‘air attack’ small plane used for reconnaissance, three light helicopters, a medium helicopter, and one large heavy helicopter.
There has been little significant fire activity in the last 24 hours. Activity has been limited to hot-spots of downed fuels with isolated tree torching. Fire-fighters will concentrate efforts today within two divisions, one working primarily on the northwest flank of the fire and another working along the southern flank. Fire-fighters along the southern flank will be installing firehose lays to support efforts to strengthen containment along Tonahutu Creek. Afternoon winds are expected to be between 12-18 mph with gusts to 30 mph today with a chance of thunderstorms after 2:00 p.m. The management objective is to hold the fire east of Trail Ridge Road (Highway 34), west of the Continental Divide, and north of Tonahutu Creek.
There is no imminent threat to any communities or structures and Rocky Mountain National Park remains open. However, to ensure public and fire-fighter safety , there are currently seven trails that are temporarily closed in the area – the Onahu Trail, the Green Mountain Trail, the lower Tonahutu Trail, the Tonahutu Spur Trail, the Grand Lake Lodge Spur Trail, the Timber Lake Trail and the trail which branches toward Mount Ida from Milner Pass. All major roads and facilities in Rocky Mountain National Park are open as are our neighboring communities of Grand Lake and Estes Park.
Evening Update – June 13, 2013
Following today’s assessment by fire staff, the Big Meadows Fire remains at an estimated 333 acres and 30% containment. Hand crews constructed and strengthened fire lines along the northwest flank of the fire; crews working along Tonahutu Creek continued efforts to install hose lays to strengthen containment along the southern flank of the fire.
Fire-fighting resources on the fire tomorrow, June 14, will include an initial attack module of seven fire-fighters, two interagency 20-person Type I hotshot crews, two interagency 20-person Type II handcrews, and five fire engines. Available air resources include two ‘air attack’ small planes used for fire reconnaissance, two light helicopters, a medium helicopter, and one large heavy helicopter. A National Guard Blackhawk helicopter remains on standby to assist fire operations in the event of a medical emergency.