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Colorado’s Fern Lake Fire

December 2, 2012 by  

Colorado’s Fern Lake Fire, A wildfire that has been burning for nearly two months in Rocky Mountain National Park jumped its containment lines Friday night, and more than doubled in size, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people Saturday. The Fern Lake Fire stood at 1,515 acres Friday, and grew to 3,584 acres by Saturday evening.

The fire, which started Oct. 9, had been 40 percent contained before it blew up, but a fire spokesperson did not have updated containment numbers as of Saturday night.

The stubborn fire forced 700 homes to evacuate in three areas: Highway 66 and all adjacent streets including the YMCA campground; High Drive and all adjacent streets, and Mary’s Lake Road up to Moraine Ave. to Mary’s Lake on the west side.

Later Saturday morning, residents in the last two areas were allowed to return home. They are still on pre-evacuation status, meaning they need to be ready to leave again at a moment’s notice.

“People came in, they were like we can see the glow on the ridge, we’re leaving, leave the food, leave your stuff, get in a car, go. That’s when it hit. It was close,” said Noelle Martinez, a Colorado State University student who was at a sign language retreat and had to evacuate from the YMCA campgrounds.

She and her friend, Kelsey Knippe, found refuge in their cars in the parking lot of the evacuation center located at Estes Park High School.

“I never experienced an evacuation before, so it was kind of scary,” Knippe said, who is also a CSU student.

More than 250 evacuees show up at the shelter, according to the Red Cross.

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