Wildfire in northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park expected to burn until the snow flies
July 9, 2010
The Cow Creek Fire burning in a remote northeastern corner of Rocky Mountain National Park likely will burn through the remainder of the fire season until a significant weather event, such as snow this fall, puts the fire out, according to Park officials.
Firefighters achieved containment of the northeast, east, and southern portions of the Cow Creek Fire in the West Creek area. The immediate threat to the area on the park’s eastern boundary has been mitigated; however, there is potential for the fire to spread to the west.
According to Superintendent Vaughn Baker, “Current fire management actions for the Cow Creek Fire include on the ground monitoring and recon flights. It is expected that smoke will be visible in this area for the coming months, especially when weather conditions such as wind, warm temperatures and low humidity are present.”
Air operations are expected for the next three weeks on the Cow Creek Fire, providing support for crew members on the ground as well as conducting reconnaissance flights. These resources could also supplement any need for interagency initial attack of future fires in the Park or Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. Control actions may be required in the future if fire behavior in the West Creek area warrants.
On July 4, the three trails that were closed due to fire operations reopened. However, off trail travel on national park lands south of the North Fork of the Big Thompson River, west of the North Boundary Trail, north of Cow Creek, and east of Mummy Mountain and Mount Dunraven are prohibited due to the active fire in the area.
Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem in the park. Fires have not burned in this rugged, remote area of the park for hundreds of years.
“Many plants and animals are dependent on fire for their survival. Periodic fire can improve reproduction of plants and improve wildlife habitat. As we learn more about the historic role of wildland fire on public lands, we are also mindful of our duty in the protection of the public and communities,” said Baker. “Although this fire is miles away
from any homes, it serves as a good reminder to all of us who live nearby, to take the necessary precautions to protect our homes.”
More information on preparing for a wildfire can be found at http://www.firewise.org