ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4)– Much cooler temperatures and light snow is helping firefighters battling the Fern Lake Fire burning in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The fire was 45 percent contained on Friday. The fire continues to be fueled by dry vegetation in steep, rocky terrain. The dry conditions combined with strong winds have been fueling the fire in recent weeks.

The fire has burned 3,492 acres since it began Oct. 9. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

There have been 750 structures threatened and one structure burned.

The cost of fighting the fire is $4.8 million.

There are 569 firefighters who have been assigned to fight the fire, four helicopters and three water tenders.

There are still hot pockets of burning or smoldering logs on the south and northwest perimeter of the fire.

Fire crews will continue to concentrate on securing the southern fire perimeter between Steep Mountain and Moraine Park.

Four helicopters will support fire suppression activities by continuing to drop water as needed.

As temperatures drop and the wind increases, the wind-chill factor is predicted to decrease to near zero, with hyperthermia becoming a concern for fire crews. Safe vehicle travel to and from the fire area in snow and ice conditions will be emphasized.

The remaining evacuees were allowed to return back into the Highway 66 area south of Aspen Brook Drive at 9 a.m. Friday.

Bear Lake Road will remain closed until further notice because of fire operations. Upper Beaver Meadows, Hidden Valley, and trails leading into the area around the Fern Lake Fire remain closed.

Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fall River Visitor Center is open weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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