Colorado park fire still burning but not expanding
June 27, 2010
DENVER – A 1,500-acre wildfire was still burning in a heavily wooded part of Rocky Mountain National Park on Sunday, but it didn’t expand its boundaries much, officials said.
Ground crews were back on the lines on Sunday, two days after they were pulled back because of erratic fire behavior.
“It’s kind of like a little toddler,” incident command spokeswoman Laura McConnell said of the fire. “You kind have to keep an eye on them.”
Firefighters and fire engines were also protecting buildings in the village of Glen Haven on the park’s northeast side.
The park remained open, although one road and two trails were closed.
The fire was spotted Wednesday about six miles west of Glen Haven and six miles north of Estes Park. Lightning is believed to be the cause.
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A second fire that burned 150 acres in the nearby Big Thompson Canyon was expected to be fully contained by Sunday night. The fire was reported Friday. The cause was under investigation.
A 5,440-acre fire in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve slowed considerably over the weekend, growing by less than 30 acres in two days. High humidity over the weekend helped hold down growth, firefighters said.
The Royal Gorge Route Railroad, an excursion line in southern Colorado, planned to modify a locomotive and take other fire-safety steps after a 630-acre wildfire that may have started near its tracks last week.
The fire burned one home and a barn and damaged five other homes.
Fremont County sheriff’s deputies obtained warrants and conducted searches of a locomotive and an area where the fire may have started, company spokeswoman Kelly Pascal Gould said Sunday.
Pascal Gould said the railroad has been cooperating fully with the investigation, and that deputies told railroad officials the search warrants were a formality.
She said the railroad hasn’t been told whether investigators believe one of its trains started the fire.
Pascal Gould said that when fire danger is high, the railroad will begin trailing its trains with a truck towing a water tank and pumps capable of pulling more water from the Arkansas River if needed to fight fires.
The truck, called a hi-rail, is equipped with retractable railroad wheels allowing it to run on railroad tracks.
Pascal Gould said the railroad has suspended operations while safety measures are implemented, but trains will resume running by Friday.