Final Fern Lake Fire evacuees return home Friday morning; Containment grows to 45 percent

ESTES PARK, Colo. - With containment growing, the remaining evacuees from the Fern Lake Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park were allowed to return to their homes after 9 a.m. Friday.

The announcement, from Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith and Fern Lake Fire managers, said that residents of the Highway 66 area south of Aspen Brook Drive are affected.

Residents received a reverse emergency notification on their registered cell phones at approximately 7 a.m. Friday.

Between 9 a.m. and noon, only residents and business owners with identification will be allowed into the area.  The public will be allowed to use the road after noon Friday.

All residents of the Highway 66 area will remain on pre-evacuation status until Saturday,  and should be prepared to leave immediately,  if conditions worsen. 

Friday Fire Update

The fire size was listed at 3,492 acres on Thursday. Containment on the Fern Lake Fire increased to 45 percent, as crews continued to secure the southern fire perimeter between Steep Mountain and Moraine Park.

The plan Friday is to focus on fire line construction. Additionally, crews will continue to secure the to work on the southern perimeter of the fire between Steep Mountain and Moraine Park.

Lighter winds Thursday allowed two heavy helicopters -- a K-MAX and a Skycrane -- to drop more than 31,000 gallons of water on the southern flank. It was the most water dropped on the fire than any previous day.

Friday, firefighters will be assisted by four helicopters.

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