ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (CBS4) – Dry, windy weather fanned the Fern Lake Fire this weekend, prompting evacuation orders weeks after the fire started in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Monday brought a new warning about fire danger as Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle posted a fire ban for that county. A fire ban was also imposed Monday in the Estes Valley Fire Protection District.
The Fern Lake Fire has burned since October. Rough terrain has made it tough to reach and now it’s flaring, forcing hundreds to evacuate. About 150 firefighters are battling the 4,400-acre fire. The fire is 20 percent contained.
Hundreds remain out of their homes and are using a church in Estes Park as a shelter.
“I just grabbed the few things that I could; my cat, my dog, and I got out of there,” evacuee Karen Waddell said. “Now it looks like the fire has staved off a little bit, but I’m still worried about my house and my belongings.”
The east side of Rocky Mountain National Park remains closed. Firefighters are holding the line at Bear Lake Road. The blaze remains totally within the park.
One cabin was destroyed over the weekend.
Personnel are now cautiously optimistic after passing a big test on Monday and preventing the fire from spreading.
“We actually are breathing a little sigh of relief today after making it through last night with the incredible winds without having any major growth on the fire,” Traci Weaver with the National Park Service said. “We had crews out there most of the night.”
After being grounded due to the wind over the weekend, helicopters were back in the air on Monday.
Fire Air Boss Jesse Rodriguez from California didn’t expect to still be in Colorado in December.
“We’re really hoping that you guys get your snow soon,” he said.
The Red Cross and the Salvation Army are on hand to help evacuees. Fire officials have been holding daily meeting at the Town Hall to address residents about the fire. On Monday at the meeting the sheriff says if all goes they hope to have residents back in home Wednesday morning.
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