Cow Creek fire in Rocky Mtn. National Park, contained 2 months ago, flares up

The Cow Creek fire in Rocky Mountain National Park, was contained but not controlled two months ago on July 8. But beginning September 1, smoke was again seen coming from the remote western side of the fire. And on September 6, the same wind that pushed the Fourmile fire through over 3,000 acres in six hours, fanned the Cow fire back to life again.  The MODIS satellite detected a significant amount of heat coming from the Cow fire area when it passed over the area Monday afternoon, September 6. The Cow Creek fire is about 4 miles west of Glen Haven, and about 6 miles north of Estes Park.

It is possible that the heat the satellite detected was contained within the perimeter, and it is not necessarily spreading and consuming additional acres. However, there is quite a bit of heat coming from it — for a fire that was put on the back burner, so to speak, two months ago.

Cow and Fourmile fires, 9-6-2010
Cow Creek and Fourmile fires, mapped from heat detected by the MODIS satellite during the afternoon of 9-6-2010

Firefighters expected in July when they contained the Cow Creek fire by constructing a fire line around the northeast, east, and south sides of it that the fire would smolder the rest of the summer, and would only be completely extinguished by heavy winter snows. They also realized that there was some potential for the fire to spread to the west in the West Creek drainage.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

One thought on “Cow Creek fire in Rocky Mtn. National Park, contained 2 months ago, flares up”

  1. In early August 1978 the Ouzle Creek fire in Rocky Mountain N.P. was contained as a natural fire, or what ever they called it then. About this time of year a very strong west wind caused it to become active and it went over the fire lines and roared down into Wild Basin as a wind driven crown fire. It created a great deal of excitement in Allen Park. It had a perfound effect on park fire management for many years after.

    Hopefully the lines will hold on the Cow Creek fire.

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