The National Park Service said Friday that as a result in the East Troublesome Fire burning from Highway 34 into the west side of the park and across the Continental Divide a preliminary assessment indicates there appears to be some structure loss on the west side of the park, but an initial assessment indicates it is minimal.
Due to the weather turning much colder and humid Friday on the east side of the Divide after the fire burned into the park, that portion of the fire, which is about 7 miles west of Estes Park, has laid down and is not very active. A weather station in the area recorded a low temperature of 16 degrees at 9:24 a.m. Friday. The photo below from an NPS camera shows ice or frost on some of the trees — conditions which are not conducive to rapid fire spread.
The forecast for Saturday near Estes Park is for 58 degrees, mostly sunny, 25 percent relative humidity, and 21 mph winds out of the west gusting to 32 mph. But beginning at sunset, rain followed by snow is expected which will continue through Monday, possibly amounting to about 9 inches of snow.
To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the East Troublesome Fire, including the most recent, click here.
Below is an excerpt from information released by the park Friday morning:
“The East Troublesome Fire had spotted [across the Continental Divide] approximately 1.5 miles from the head of Tonahutu Creek to the head of Spruce Creek. Low clouds contributed to the challenge of assessing where smoke was coming from. Park fire lookouts from near the Ute Trail along Trail Ridge Road were able to confirm a smoke column out of Spruce Creek. Due to the location of the fire in the lower Spruce Creek drainage and confluence of Forest Canyon, evacuations began for areas of Estes Park. Humidity levels yesterday greatly assisted in stopping the fire growth and it appears it has remained in that general location. It is in the same general area as the Fern Lake Fire of 2012.
“On the west side of the park, resources were focused on continual life and safety priorities and ongoing evacuations from the night before. Numerous trees were down on the west side of Trail Ridge Road, north of the Green Mountain Trailhead, blocking that area as a means to evacuate on Wednesday night, October 21. Weather conditions on the west of the Continental Divide were very different than the east side yesterday, with low humidity and winds continuing to add to the fire growth. As of last night, the East Troublesome Fire had moved north of the Coyote Valley Trailhead.
“All of Rocky Mountain National Park remains closed.”