USA – Two small fires are burning in remote locations of Rocky Mountain National Park, officials reported.
The larger fire is in the Forest Canyon area below Trail Ridge Road, between Rock Cut and Forest Canyon overlook, according to park officials.
The Forest Canyon Fire is estimated to be 5 acres and is burning lodgepole pine in an area that hasn’t been burned in 800 years, according to park officials. More than 50 percent of the forest stand has been killed by recent insect outbreaks.
Two single engine air tankers dropped retardant on the fire Friday morning, but steep terrain and valleys made it ineffective, park officials said. A Type 1 helicopter was expected to arrive Friday afternoon.
Firefighting crews hiked in via Trail Ridge Road, and the strategy is focused on “preventing fire spread and spotting downhill,” according to a national park update around 11:30 a.m. Friday.
The other fire is near Mirror Lake in the northern part of the park. It was estimated to one-tenth of an acre as of 10 p.m. Thursday, burning near treeline in mostly spruce fir forest. A small crew and helicopter from Mesa Verde National Park is assigned.
The cause of each fire is unknown, but park officials said a thunderstorm bringing lightning passed through the Forest Canyon area on Thursday afternoon.
Trail Ridge Road remains open, but that could change if fire conditions change, park officials said. Upper Beaver Meadows Road is closed because of aviation operations.
Trail closures are in place around the Mirror Lake fire, and reservations for some nearby backcountry sites are canceled until further notice.
Other agencies helping fight the fires are Estes Valley Fire Protection District, Grand Lake Fire Protection District, Boulder County Fire and Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest.