Fire danger has increased rapidly recently with dry, windy conditions and with the curing of a robust grass crop. As the Labor Day holiday weekend approaches, along with high visitation and high fire danger, park visitors are reminded that there are always fire restrictions in place at Rocky Mountain National Park. Campfires are prohibited in the park, except within designated metal campfire rings in front-country campgrounds and some picnic areas. Visitors are also reminded to properly extinguish and dispose of cigarettes.
Over the past five years, park staff have seen an increase in illegal campfires. A few of these campfires became wildfires and were suppressed. Each one had the potential to spread and threaten lives and property. In the fall of 2012, the Fern Lake Fire started from an illegal campfire. This fire burned over 3,000 acres, caused an evacuation of a portion of Estes Park and cost more than 6 million dollars to suppress. Unfortunately, the person(s) who started the fire were never caught.
Park visitors’ awareness to report fires greatly assist park staff. Illegal campfires are often connected with illegal camping. A permit is required to camp in Rocky Mountain National Park.
During the recent Safety Checkpoint on the evening of August 17, through the early morning of August 18, park rangers issued ten warnings to members of the public intending to camp without a permit.
For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at 970-586-1206.