Big Meadow Fire down to 353 acres, 30-percent containment

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. – After Thursday’s assessment, fire staff said the Big Meadows Fire is at an estimated 353 acres and 30 percent containment.

As of Thursday morning, the fire had burned nearly 600 acres on the north end of Big Meadows with no containment, according to information from the Incident Command center. By Thursday evening, hand crews had established and strengthened fire lines along the northwest side of the fire, while crews on the south side of the blaze continued to install hose lays along the Tonahutu Creek.

Thursday’s fire activity was mostly limited to the eastern side on the south-facing slopes.

The fire is still not threatening any structures or communities. It is one of several fires that are currently burning in Colorado.

Officials said they expect little change in the weather over the next two to three days, with Friday afternoon winds around 8 to 12 mph, and a chance of afternoon thunderstorms throughout the weekend. These storms are anticipated to bring little moisture to the region.

Friday’s firefighting resources include seven firefighters, two inter-agency, 20-person Type I hotshot crews, two inter-agency, 20-person Type II hand crews and five fire engines. Six air resources are also available to fight the blaze and a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter continues to be on standby in the event of a medical emergency.

Due to other fires in Colorado — as well as in other states — that are affecting many homes and other structures, resources are being a bit thinned out across the nation.

As of Friday morning, seven trails remain 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 remain open, as are the neighboring communities of Grand Lake and Estes Park.

There has been a fire information line established at 970-586-1381 for updated information on the Big Meadows Fire.

It was sparked by lightning on Monday, according to Rocky Mountain National Park spokesperson Kyle Patterson.

Initially the fire just burned 2 to 3 acres in grass, and forest officials considered letting it burn. However, as the fire grew high winds pushed it to a large area of beetle kill trees and the fire quickly grew.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported the fire is burning in beetle kill trees in the Colorado River headwaters. The area is critical to Fort Collins because it’s home to Granby and other Colorado-Big Thompson Project reservoirs. If it were to move south, it could endanger the water reservoirs.