ESTES PARK, Colo. - Some of the families evacuated since Saturday because of the Fern Lake Fire will be allowed to return home Wednesday.
The emergency notification system will be used at 7 a.m. Wednesday to contact the residents that will be allowed home. The Larimer County Sheriff's Office said it is expected to include homes in the Highway 66 evacuation area from Highway 36 through Aspen Brook Drive.
Between 9 a.m. and noon only residents and business owners with identification will be allowed into the area, but the area will remain on pre-evacuation notice. After noon, the area will open to the public.
Current pre-evacuation notices are also expected to be lifted at 7 a.m. for residents of High Drive and adjacent streets, as well as residents of the Mary's Lake Road area from Moraine Avenue and Rock Ridge Road south to Highway 7.
The Sheriff's Office also said tentative plans are in the works to allow the remaining evacuees in the Highway 66 corridor to return home on Friday morning.
The Fern Lake Fire began on Oct. 9, but exploded over the weekend with a push from high winds. As of Tuesday night, about 250 firefighters are working to contain it. The latest estimates list the fire at 3,750 acres and 40 percent containment.
Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman Traci Weaver said the fire area, west of Estes Park, hadn't burned since the 1500's. That created a dense forest, much of which was killed by beetle infestation. Additionally, the area is extremely dry with area weather stations reporting a dismal 12 inches of precipitation during 2012.
Fire crews expect high winds again Wednesday evening, the Sheriff's Office said. High winds grounded an air tanker and helicopters on Tuesday afternoon.