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Big Meadows Fire increasing in size at Rocky Mountain National Park

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DENVER — The Big Meadows Fire is growing in size on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.

The fire is burning nearly 400 acres on the north end of Big Meadows, and was sparked by lightning, according to Rocky Mountain National Park spokesperson Kyle Patterson.

The fire is about four miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead, and 2.5 miles from the Granite Falls area.  It is one of several fires that are currently burning in Colorado.

Smoke from the fire is visible along the Front Range including both Larimer and Boulder counties.

Patterson said Tuesday at approximately 1:00 p.m., firefighters experienced extremely gusty winds that both deterred deploying smokejumpers and increased the fire’s growth.

No structures or communities are threatened at this time.

The fire was just 3 acres Tuesday morning, and quickly spread due to another spot fire, high winds, low humidity and a large amount of beetle killed trees, according to Patterson.

Officials said the fire moving to the northeast toward Nakai Peak.

A Boise Smokejumper Type III Team has taken over management of the fire, and a Type II team has been ordered to fight the fire.  Fire managers have also ordered additional air and ground resources including three additional helicopters and five additional Type I crews. A Craig hotshot Type I crew arrived in the area Tuesday afternoon.

Currently there are five trails temporarily closed in the area – the Onahu Trail, the Green Mountain Trail, the lower Tonahutu Trail, the Tonahutu Spur Trail and the Grand Lake Lodge Spur Trail.

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

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.