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Old 06-11-2013, 04:41 PM
2,253 posts, read 6,038,392 times
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There is a wildfire burning on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, with heavy smoke now visible and near Estes Park.

This is the Big Meadows Fire, having apparently begun Monday, due lightening. It is said to be burning 4.5 miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead; I was told not all that far north of the town of Grand Lake. Five hiking trails are apparently temporarily closed due this wildfire: being the Tonahutu Spur Trail, Grand Lake Spur Trail, the Green Mountain Trail, the lower Tonahutu Trail, and the Onahu Trail.

Ironically or not, only this morning at Wild Basin (SE corner of RMNP) I noticed a sign saying the fire danger was "Very High." Given that all is green and lush from our badly needed April snows, this seemed a little excessive. But the ranger at the gate there said it was still dry, and they could raise the ante to 'Extremely High' if needed.

In soon thereafter asking after this at RMNP headquarters at Beaver Meadows, rangers tending to the public knew very little.

She thought maybe the Fern Lake Fire (2012, along Big Thompson River in RMNP) was out by now. I think it probably is, too, although no definitive idea. Last official word had it smoldering through the winter. Chances are our April snows finally got it. In any event, trails there are currently open; there is no sign of any ongoing wildfire, but visible scars from where it burned.

Meanwhile, in Estes Park, one could have been excused this afternoon in thinking the Fern Lake Fire had suddenly flared up again. About 2:20pm there appeared a large plume of that obviously wildfire smoke to the west. From town it appeared as if possibly close and burning in Moraine Park (previous site of the Fern Lake Fire, in part).

Unfortunately, as forecast, the wind is blowing somewhat today, and this obviously not helping things. The wind is blowing to the northeast, with this heavy smoke very visible in Estes Park, but largely just north of town. If in line with it, then the light from the sun has a sepia tinge to it, and one can smell the smoke.

But as I found out, this wildfire is not local to Estes Park, and in fact burning on the far side of the continental divide, on the west side of the park. It just looks closer. And as far as the smoke goes, it might as well be local, due appearance—and effect, if one happens to be in it.

Park headquarters told me around Noon that this wildfire was about 2 acres in size, and largely contained. That does not appear to be the case any longer. Word has it that RMNP has since decided to fight this wildfire rather than let it burn naturally.

KUNC radio has mentioned this wildfire, with apparently the large plume of smoke visible from such Front Range towns as Fort Collins. There is as well mention in other media: newspaper and television.

As the weather is different from one side of RMNP to the other, suppose they could have had lightening near Grand Lake yesterday. Near Estes Park there has been little precipitation as rain since the last, and heavy, snow on May 1. Perhaps there has been lightening on the east side of late, although none I'm aware of. Indeed the forecast for the next 10 days is for more of the same: sun, with few clouds and little chance of rain.

Although now would be a fine time to begin receiving some generous thunderstorms with rain; it still seems too early to have to worry about wildfire. Most obviously that is not the case.

Last edited by Idunn; 06-11-2013 at 05:29 PM..

Old 06-11-2013, 05:51 PM
1,426 posts, read 2,540,634 times
Reputation: 2027
Shot of the black forest fire

Old 06-11-2013, 05:54 PM
Location: The 719
14,548 posts, read 22,412,765 times
Reputation: 13854
Stay safe Mike.

The one west of us looks so much closer than it is. Hope the wind dies down soon.
Old 06-11-2013, 06:15 PM
Location: Falcon, Colorado, USA
43 posts, read 82,379 times
Reputation: 76
Default Black Forest fire

Black Forest Colorado Fire 11 June 2013 from Falcon Middle School - YouTube
Old 06-11-2013, 06:22 PM
20,900 posts, read 39,174,026 times
Reputation: 19187
Originally Posted by McGowdog View Post
Stay safe Mike.

The one west of us looks so much closer than it is. Hope the wind dies down soon.
Hey Dog, so far so good. Fire is 3-5 miles N and E of us. It was heading NE and is now heading E on a west wind; still heading away from me. Wind is due to shift by morning to come from the N and then we will get smoke but hopefully no fire in this direction. No evac orders for Pine Creek area. Yet. Pix to follow.

Photo from Pine Creek High School.

Link to 9 photos.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 06-11-2013 at 06:43 PM..
Old 06-11-2013, 06:23 PM
Location: Falcon, Colorado, USA
43 posts, read 82,379 times
Reputation: 76
Old 06-11-2013, 06:33 PM
Location: Denver 'burbs
21,873 posts, read 23,146,167 times
Reputation: 37276
Sending out good thoughts to all in or near affected areas. Stay safe everyone.
Old 06-11-2013, 06:45 PM
Location: Southwestern, USA
15,374 posts, read 12,124,717 times
Reputation: 16613
Have u stepped outside!! From wherever u are?
My God.

I haven't gotten a text since 3 pm from a friend that lives to text, in the
Blk Forest...scared to find out why....
This is so bad....the news coverage is excellent on every channel.
Oh brother.

No mention of how it started yet.....biting nails....
Old 06-11-2013, 06:55 PM
Location: Colorado
1,712 posts, read 3,047,398 times
Reputation: 1747
An aunt is in the evacuation zone. Not good. It is moving FAST!
Old 06-11-2013, 07:00 PM
Location: Southwestern, USA
15,374 posts, read 12,124,717 times
Reputation: 16613
FAST!! I'll say!

Does dark mean houses? At the top against the gorgeous blue
sky it is so WHITE, just like a cloud!
I said to a volunteer firefighter support leader, I can take one doggy.

Propane tanks exploding!!

Sounds like a lot of animal support being offered
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