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Several trails reopen in Rocky Mountain National Park; Big Meadows Fire 75% contained

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The Big Meadows Fire continued to burn in Rocky Mountain National Park on June 13, 2013. (Photo: Stephen Rapp)

The Big Meadows Fire continued to burn in Rocky Mountain National Park on June 13, 2013. (Photo: Stephen Rapp)

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. – Several trails at Rocky Mountain National Park have reopened to the public after the Big Meadows Fire was sparked by lightning Monday.

Officials with the park said Sunday morning that the fire was 75 percent contained, and that a total of 604 acres have burned.

In order to contain the fire along the southern perimeter, firefighters conducted a burnout operation on Friday, according to spokesperson Kyle Patterson.

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

Firefighting resources on the fire Sunday included two wildland fire modules of eight firefighters each, four 20-person Type I hotshot crews and two fire engines.

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

On Saturday night, only the Onahu Trail, the Green Mountain Trail, and the lower Tonahutu Trail remained closed. Trail closures did affect a section of the Continental Divide Trail that passes through the park. The Timber Lake Trail will be open for day use only.

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 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.