Estes Park and Granby being evacuated

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 17:15:54 10/22/20

In Reply to: Major wildfire situation around Rocky Mountain National Park posted by Ballpark Frank

Our worst fears are being realized. The East Troublesome Fire has been pushed up against the west side of the Continental Divide in RMNP. At least one spot fire was reported east of the Divide earlier this afternoon. I've seen photos of downtown Estes Park in the early to mid-afternoon that looked like twilight or nightfall, the smoke has gotten so thick.

There are fears that the East Troublesome Fire and the Cameron Peak Fire might merge. They are only 10 or 15 miles apart. The Cameron Peak Fire is already the largest wildfire in Colorado history. Now, the East Troublesome Fire has eclipsed all the others, and is now the second largest fire in Colorado history.

It has now become a large enough news event that the national media is starting to cover it.

I'm remembering the days when I was presenting an interpretive side program titled "Wind, Water, & Wildfire" in the headquarters auditorium at RMNP. It was the early to mid-1980s, and a fire had been ignited in Wild Basin a few years earlier. It burned close to the park boundary, and threatened the town of Allenspark. We thought it was a big deal, but I don't think it burned more than a couple thousand acres. Now, we have these humongous fires threatening multiple mountain towns, and we may see them roar right through several of them.

Unlike most places on the west coast, or even Yellowstone's 1988 Fires, portions of these current fires will be wiping out forests at high elevation. Those scars will lost a very long time, because it takes an incredibly long time for a forest to regenerate at high elevation. Anyone curious is invited to look up the hillside once Dunraven Pass reopens. Look at the skeletons of the whitebark pine groves. They will continue looking like that for a long time.


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