Rocky Mountain National Park blaze triples in size |

Rocky Mountain National Park blaze triples in size

Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post
Smoke rises from a wildfire fire burning about six miles west of Glen Haven in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colo., on Friday June 25, 2010, in this view from Lake Estes Golf Course. The fire south of Mount Dickinson is roughly seven miles from the nearest road and is located in heavy timber in a remote area. Ground crews indicated that the fire was roughly 85 to 100 acres on Friday afternoon. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Patrick Kramer) BOULDER DAILY CAMERA OUT; COLORADO DAILY OUT

The Cow Creek Trail wildfire in the Rocky Mountain National Park tripled in size overnight as strong winds spread the fire through heavy timber, authorities say.

The fire near Mount Dickinson went from 250 acres Friday night to more than 800 acres this morning, said Kyle Patterson, spokeswoman for the National Park Service.

Erratic winds continue to drive the fire to the west, north and northeast in a remote area of the park about seven miles from the nearest road, Patterson said.

Because of the hazardous conditions, no more ground crews were sent into the area, she said. Firefighters will use helicopters and air tankers to drop water on the fire.

They will focus on protecting the small community of Glen Haven, which is about six miles east of the fire, Patterson said.

Rocky Mountain National Park remains open along with most park trails, she said.

Friday night, as a precaution, four park rangers hiked the North Fork Drainage of the park and asked 24 registered campers to hike out.

Friday afternoon McGraw Ranch Road was closed to the public. This road is a private dirt road that leads to Rocky Mountain National Park land, including McGraw Ranch and the Cow Creek Trailhead.

The narrow road, being used by firefighters, was closed for safety reasons but residents were not asked to evacuate.

Cow Creek, North Boundary and Dunraven/North Fork trails were closed.

A Type 2 Fire Incident team is expected to arrive this evening.

On Wednesday, a small fire, believed to have been sparked by lightning, was spotted by a pilot one mile south of Mount Dickinson in Rocky Mountain National Park.

There are currently 36 firefighters on the ground: eight smokejumpers, eight crew members from Rocky Mountain National Park and 20 crew members from the Roosevelt Hotshots with the United States Forest Service.

Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206 or

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