Heightened fire danger sparks reminders at Rocky Mountain National Park | SkyHiNews.com

Heightened fire danger sparks reminders at Rocky Mountain National Park

A Type 1 (heavy) Heli-Tanker flies toward Spruce Canyon in Rocky Mountain National Park on Nov. 25, 2012, to drop water on the Fern Lake Fire.

Recognizing a rapidly increasing fire danger, Rocky Mountain National Park is reminding people that fire restrictions are always in place at the park.

With the exception of designated metal campfire rings in front-country campgrounds and some picnic areas, campfires are not allowed in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Also, visitors are being asked to properly extinguish their cigarettes, as the dry, windy conditions and a robust crop of curing grass have significantly raised the fire danger compared to recent weeks.

Realizing that illegal campfires and illegal campsites often go hand-in-hand, park staff are asking visitors to report fires. A permit is required to camp in Rocky Mountain National Park.

“Over the past five years, park staff have seen an increase in illegal campfires,” park officials said in a news release. “A few of these campfires became wildfires and were suppressed. Each one had the potential to spread and threaten lives and property.”

The park recalled the fall 2012, when an illegal campfire sparked the Fern Lake Fire, which burned more than 3,000 acres, led to the evacuation of a portion of Estes Park and cost more than $6 million to suppress.

During the safety checkpoint on Aug. 17, park rangers reportedly issued 10 warnings to people intending to camp without a permit.

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