Four firefighters from the Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District are helping protect structures threatened by the Fern Lake wildfire, raging just outside of Estes Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. "The experience that (our) firefighters receive during these types of deployments has proven to be invaluable in preparing and better managing the agency's own local wildfire season," Red, White and Blue fire chief Jim Keating stated in a release from the department.The wildfire has burned more than 3,600 acres of pine beetle-impacted forest since it ignited from an illegal wildfire Oct. 9. It remains at 20 percent containment. Two hundred fifty firefighters attempted to slow the course of the blaze whipped up again over the weekend by high winds. The Red, White and Blue team deployed to the Front Range Sunday, in time to join 150 firefighters who were working to protect homes from the flames overnight. Lake Dillon firefighters responded to the fire Saturday with two firefighters and a medic. "We're always glad to help our neighbors like this, and we know we can count on them if we need them," Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue deputy chief Jeff Berino stated in a department release. "This fire is pretty late in the season, but it serves as a reminder that our fire danger remains elevated in the High Country this time of year, especially with as little snow as we have received." The fire has forced the evacuation of nearly 600 homes, and more than 1,000 more households on evacuation alert could be forced to leave if the wind pushes the fire back into the treetops, as it did earlier in the weekend. "I really don't want to kick anybody out of their homes if I don't have to," the Larimer County sheriff told residents at an Estes Park meeting. After weeks of dry weather, and the wildfire raging to the north Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle ordered a fire ban.The Denver Post contributed to the reporting of this story.
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