ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – High winds, low humidity and a large amount of beetle killed trees caused a fire burning in Rocky Mountain National Park to blow up on Tuesday.

The Big Meadows Fire grew from 2 to 3 acres Tuesday morning to an estimated 300 to 400 acres through the day.

“A recon flight this afternoon showed the fire moving to the northeast toward Nakai Peak,” park spokesperson Kyle Patterson said in a statement.

Fire managers usually try to allow natural occurring fires to burn, partly to prevent bigger wildfires later. But Patterson said Tuesday that they decided to fight it instead because of extended drought conditions and reduced resources. She said the park’s ability to manage a long burning fire is “significantly limited.”

An image of the fire (credit: Robert Burns, Estes Park)

An image of the fire (credit: Robert Burns, Estes Park)

The Big Meadows Fire was started by lightning Monday on the west side of the park in an area with beetle-killed trees.

The fire doubled in size on Tuesday. It’s estimated to be burning on about 75 acres, mostly in grass.

No structures have been destroyed and no evacuations have been ordered.

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. All major roads in Rocky Mountain National Park are open.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit’s Wildfire Resources section.

– Read recent Wildfire stories.

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 2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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