Big Meadows Fire at 60% containment; 5 trails reopen in Rocky Mountain National Park

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK - Firefighters battling the Big Meadows Fire reached 60 percent containment on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain National Park reopened five trails that had been closed by the 496-acre wildfire burning in a remote area on the west side of the park.

Some of the fire's growth was due to fire crews conducting a burnout operation Friday to strengthen fire lines and reduce fuels along the southern flank of the fire, said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson. Fire officials said the firing operation successfully strengthened the southern flank of the fire, effectively minimizing the potential for the fire burning toward the south.

On Saturday morning, park officials lifted closures for two Tonahutu Spur Trails (one beginning at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, the other near the North Inlet trailhead), the Grand Lake Lodge Spur Trail, the Timber Lake Trail, and the trail which branches toward Mount Ida from Milner Pass. The Timber Lake Trail will be open for day use only.

Closures remain in effect for the Onahu Trail, the Green Mountain Trail and the lower Tonahutu Trail.  Trail closures do affect a section of the Continental Divide Trail that passes through the park. Park officials said before people go hiking, they should first check with a park visitor center or park Information Office at 970-586-1206.

On Saturday, there was a total 266 personnel fighting the fire along with two fire engines, two small reconnaissance airplanes, two light helicopters, a medium helicopter and one large heavy helicopter.  A National Guard Blackhawk helicopter remains on standby to assist fire operations in the event of a medical emergency.

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