Winds Spur Fire Evacuations In Rocky Mountain National Park

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The Fern Lake Fire (credit: Estes Park Trail Gazette)

The Fern Lake Fire (credit: Estes Park Trail Gazette)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – A wind-stoked fire has burned at least one cabin and forced the evacuation of several areas in and near Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fire spokeswoman Traci Weaver said the Fern Lake Fire grew rapidly Saturday morning, but winds have since died down, allowing crews to gain the upper hand.

“The fire last night between 1 a.m. and 1:40 a.m. ran three miles in 35 minutes. And that is way beyond any of our predictive tools to say that’s what the fire would do,” Weaver said. “It was spotting a mile ahead of itself and then that would grow into a fire, spot a mile ahead of itself again. It just moved incredibly fast.

“Right now we are cautiously optimistic because we’ve been able to stop the fire, its forward spread,” Weaver said. “What we really need is snow.”

All evacuees should go to Estes Park High School located at 1600 Manford Avenue. Evacuees who have large animals can take them now to the Stanley Park Fairgrounds located at 1209 Manford Avenue.

VIDEO: Saturday Evening Fern Lake Fire News Conference

Two heavy air tankers have been ordered, but Weaver said Saturday afternoon the aircraft remained in California because of heavy fog and poor visibility.

Nick Christensen with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said evacuations remained in place for the Highway 66 corridor and all adjacent streets. The east side of Rocky Mountain National Park also was closed.

Fern Lake Fire Map

(credit: CBS)

About 1,100 evacuation and pre-evacuation notifications were sent to phones in the area. However, officials said Saturday some evacuation orders already had been lifted, and the fire has so far been confined to the park.

“I threw a bunch of things in that I thought I might need, drove over to my neighbor’s and then I followed them,” an evacuee told CBS4.

The cabin that burned was in the park’s Kaley Cottages area.

What's left of the burned cabin (credit: CBS)

What’s left of the burned cabin (credit: CBS)

The blaze was reported Oct. 9 and was likely caused by an illegal campfire. The fire had been listed at 1,500 acres and 40 percent contained, but Weaver said those figures have likely changed since it blew up Saturday.

No injuries have been reported.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

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Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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