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Rocky Mountain National Park Weighs Risk; Decides to Fight Small Lightning Caused Fire
Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Rocky Mountain National Park managers have decided to suppress a small, lightning caused fire on the West side of the Park in the Big Meadows area due to extended drought conditions and reduced interagency resources.
This decision did not come easily; each fire’s risk is managed individually. Park managers look at each naturally occurring fire on a case by case basis when determining how best to manage a fire.
An interagency crew consisting of Rocky Mountain National Park and US Forest Service firefighters were flown to the Big Meadows Fire located on the north end of Big Meadows on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The location is roughly 4.5 miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead. The preliminary report is the fire did not grow much last night and remains at approximately 2 to 3 acres, mainly burning in grass. The fire was caused by lightning.
High winds today are impacting firefighting operations but have not increased the footprint of the fire significantly. Firefighters have not seen any open flames today and the fuel moisture is relatively high. Smokejumpers are staged nearby if needed. Firefighters will be using minimum impact tools to suppress smoldering grass and other dead and down material. The area does contain beetle killed trees; snags are being removed for firefighter safety.
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.