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Yellowstone N.P. Wildfires Scorch 4,000 Acres

August 20, 2013 by · Comments Off on Yellowstone N.P. Wildfires Scorch 4,000 Acres 

Flames from the Alum Fire overwhelm woodlands in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service and National Parks Traveler.

Hot, dry conditions are feeding wildfires in Yellowstone National Park, some of which have grown by thousands of acres in just two days and were threatening a section of the Grand Loop Road on Monday (Aug. 19), National Parks Traveler reported.

The Alum Fire, which had been sparked by lightning to the west of Mud Volcano on Aug. 14 had been burning across just three acres until Saturday, when it exploded across some 3,000 acres.

On Sunday, it spread to another 1,000 acres, park officials said Monday. The fire perimeter was within a mile of the Grand Loop Road south of Mud Volcano and park officials said there was the potential for temporary closures of the road between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge Junction.

Overall, three major fires in the park have grown under the hot, dry, gusty conditions of the past four days.

“All three fires produced tall smoke columns visible for several miles in all directions. In addition, smoke from fires outside the park to the north and west in Montana and Idaho also contributed to occasionally hazy conditions at some locations at times during (Sunday),” a park release said.

Click here to read the entire story

 

 

Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

August 16, 2013 by · Comments Off on Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds 

MISSOURI

From the Cassville Democrat:

Click here to view photos of the campground flooding at Roaring River State Park.

MINNESOTA

From the Lake County Chronicle:

An expansion to the Burlington Bay Campground in Two Harbors is under construction. Set to open this fall, construction has been in progress since May.

“It’s going along pretty smoothly,” said City Councilor Seth McDonald, of Two Harbors. “It’s close to completion and there haven’t been any major issues.”

Adding 36 Class A motorhome sites, the expansion will include state-of-the-art facilities and a three tier layout. The city plans to put in another bath house next year, along with more primitive camping areas.

“We’re shooting for a soft opening in September,” said Two Harbors Mayor Randy Bolen. “We’ll have the grand opening in the spring.”

According to Bolen, one of the campground’s most appealing features is its view of Lake Superior.

“It will be an attractive facility for visitors and the community alike,” Bolen said, “It’s a huge opportunity for our city.”

Although the project is expected to be completed soon, there’s still work to be done and a firm opening date has not been set.

“We have to complete the punch list,” McDonald said. “The soft opening in the fall is not determined, yet.”

The $1.25 million addition was funded with an IRRRB grant and State of Minnesota bonding money. No funding from the city’s general fund was necessary for the project.

Currently, the campground boasts 66 sites with water and electric hookups, 36 with water electric, and sewer hookups, and 10 primitive tent sites.

WEST VIRGINIA

From the Charleston Daily Mail:

A plan to raise money for improvements at two state parks has been put on hold until the Legislature can clarify a section of state code, members of the state Economic Development Authority were told Thursday (Aug. 15).

Executive Director David Warner said attorneys have recommended the authority put on hold the planned $24 million bond sale to benefit Cacapon Resort State Park.

Last year, the Legislature approved a bill allowing the state to sell up to $52 million worth of bonds to fund improvements at Cacapon and Beech Fork state parks. The bonds would be sold in two groups, with Cacapon getting the first funds.

The authority approved the bond sale in April. The bonds will be paid back with funds from the state’s Excess Lottery fund.

However, Warner said when attorneys drafted and reviewed the final agreements prior to the sale, they raised red flags. He said bond attorneys did not feel the bill approved by the Legislature did not clearly define how the Lottery funds would be paid out.

SOUTH DAKOTA

From the Aberdeen News:

The Brown County Fair set a new record for RV camping at the fairgrounds this year, said Randy Crawford, second chair vice president of the Brown County Fair Board.

Crawford said 665 spots have been filled by recreational vehicles at the fairgrounds. Last year, 541 campers reserved a spot on the campgrounds.

He estimated there are about four people in each vehicle, which means there is more than 2,000 people who have spent fair weekend living on the campgrounds at the fair.

MONTANA

From the Daily Interlake, Kalispell:

Montana State Parks announced Thursday (Aug. 15) that parks in Northwest Montana are now under Stage One fire restrictions, which allow for campfires only in designated steel fire grates.

The restrictions allow for camp stoves. Smoking is not allowed except in enclosed vehicles or developed sites clear of flammable materials.

The restrictions apply to Big Arm State Park, Finley Point State Park, Wild Horse Island State Park and Yellow Bay State Park. At Wild Horse Island and Yellow Bay, all campfires and open flames are prohibited and smoking is not allowed.

Ever since a swarm of lightning storms moved across the region early Tuesday morning, fire protection agencies have been conducting vigilant aerial reconnaissance.

Rick Connell, the fire management officer for the Flathead National Forest, said the flights have helped detect about 10 small fires, most of them single-tree lightning strikes.

“As we get hotter and drier and windy, we’ll see how these new starts go, how they evolve with the drier weather,” he said. “We’re not currently in restrictions (on the Flathead Forest), but we want the public to be diligent with fire.”

The fire danger currently is rated as high.

ALBERTA

From the Okotoks Western Wheel:

The town of Black Diamond is giving a service organization the green light to clean a local campground devastated by the flood with the expectation the provincial government will cover the costs.

The town council voted unanimously at its regular meeting on Aug. 7 to authorize the Foothills Lions Club to be in charge of restoration work for the south end of the Black Diamond Lions Campground. It’s estimated the work will cost $35,000 to complete.

The club will invoice the town for costs incurred and the Town will apply to the provincial Disaster Recovery Program for costs that aren’t covered by insurance.

About a third of the 68-site campground was destroyed when the Sheep River flooded its banks June 20. The office and two outdoor kitchens were destroyed and they majority of picnic tables and fire rings were destroyed in the flood.

WASHINGTON

From a news release:

Washington State Parks announced it is lifting a ban on campfires in state parks in Western Washington, as the result of rain and forecasts of milder weather.

Effective immediately, campers in state park campgrounds west of the Cascade crest may resume having campfires in provided campfire rings and also may use charcoal briquettes in grills and braziers.

State Parks is following the lead of Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, who announced he is lifting the ban on recreational fires in approved fire pits on forest lands under DNR fire protection, within state, county and municipal or other campgrounds in Western Washington.

A ban on campfires and use of briquettes remains in place for all state parks in Eastern Washington.

CALIFORNIA

From the Ramona Patch:

Swaths of East County mountain wilderness closed to the public since last month by a 7,000-acre wildfire reopened Thursday.

All trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas in Laguna Mountain Recreation Area are now available to visitors again, according to Cleveland National Forest officials.

On July 6, the Chariot Fire erupted about nine miles southeast of Julian and began spreading over back-country terrain on the flanks of Mount Laguna. The blaze destroyed about 150 structures, mostly log cabins and trailer homes, and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate before firefighters got the flames under control.

A partial closure will remain in effect at least through Dec. 31 to allow crews to address resource protection, protection of public and private property, and public health-and-safety concerns related to the fire, according to to forestry officials.

 

 

23 Unattended Campfires Found in Natl. Forest

August 12, 2013 by · Comments Off on 23 Unattended Campfires Found in Natl. Forest 

This map from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service shows active wildfires in the U.S. The Elk Complex and Pony fires in Idaho are represented by Nos. 24 and 26, respectively.

The following is a press release from the Bitterroot National Forest in Idaho:

Firefighters have discovered 23 illegal, abandoned, or escaped campfires burning on the Bitterroot National Forest in just the last seven days. Two of the fires were discovered Sunday morning (Aug. 11) off Skalkaho Highway near Gird Point Lookout and Railroad Creek, east of Hamilton. Both fires had escaped their makeshift rings and if crews had not been close by, could have quickly and easily spread to nearby grass and trees.

The Forest Service is asking for the public’s help in stopping this growing problem. It’s a major concern as fire crews are spending their time responding to and putting out abandoned campfires, which could delay responses to new wildfires that start.

More than half of the abandoned campfires were discovered outside designated/approved campgrounds, where fires are currently prohibited under Stage 1 Restrictions. See below for more details including potential penalties for this activity.

Fire Restrictions: Stage 1 fire restrictions went into effect on August 1st on the Bitterroot National Forest. Campfires are allowed only within a designated campground or recreation site which contains a Forest-provided fire ring. For a list of all designated campgrounds and recreation sites, visit the Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/bitterroot. Individuals who violate these restrictions could face fines of up to $5,000 and be held liable for all suppression costs and damages for starting a fire.

Current Fire Danger: The Bitterroot National Forest fire danger is currently ‘very high.’ Forest officials are asking the public to be extremely careful when camping and to remember that it’s your job and responsibility to properly maintain and extinguish all campfires.

Smoke & Haze: The smoke and haze that drifted into the Bitterroot Valley overnight is coming from the Pony Complex and Elk fires burning in Idaho. Combined, the two fires have grown to nearly 200,000 acres.

 

800 Campers Escape California RV Park Wildfire

August 8, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

A man identified as “Chief Dan” uses a garden hose to douse some flames near the Silent Valley Club. Photo courtesy of the Silent Valley Club’s Facebook page.

About 800 people evacuated the Silent Valley Club, a private RV resort near Banning n Southern California, after a wildfire broke out and raged out of control on Wednesday (Aug. 7).

The Silver Fire broke out in the inland mountains of Southern California and expanded exponentially, burning homes, forcing the evacuation of several small mountain communities and leaving three people injured, The Associated Press reported.

About 1,500 people had evacuated as the wildfire of more than 9 square miles raged out of control in the San Jacinto Mountains, said Lucas Spelman, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Three were injured, including two firefighters taken to hospitals by ambulance and a burned civilian who was airlifted out, state fire officials said. They would give no further details on the injuries.

Click here to read the entire story.

Ashes remain at this campsite at the Silent Valley Club in Southern California. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

 

A helicopter hovers above the Silent Valley Club which was evacuated on Wednesday after a wildfire threatened the property.

 

 

Latest Briefs from RV Parks and Campgrounds

August 1, 2013 by · Comments Off on Latest Briefs from RV Parks and Campgrounds 

CALIFORNIA

From The Desert Sun, Palm Springs:

Starting today (Aug. 1), firefighters and state park officials will reopen parkland in the San Jacinto Mountains that was closed because of the Mountain Fire.

National Forest land will reopen today, and Mount Jacinto State Park will reopen Friday.

Areas slated to reopen include all parts of the national dorest north of the state park, including Marion Mountain, Seven Pines and the Deer Springs trails, and Lake Fulmor.

Marion Mountain, Dark Canyon, Boulder Basin and Black Mountain and Fern Basin campgrounds will also reopen, John Miller of the Forest Service said..

The Mountain Fire, which started on July 15, burned 27,531 acres in the Idyllwild area and was contained on Tuesday.

The blaze destroyed 23 structures, including seven homes, and was sparked by electrical equipment on private property northeast of Idyllwild.

MISSOURI

From the News-Leader, Springfield:

A new lodging option is available at Pomme de Terre State Park in Hickory County. Visitors can reserve a stay in the park’s yurt, a circular structure that is weather tight and includes electricity, air conditioning and heating.

The yurt at Pomme de Terre State Park is the third in Missouri State Parks; the other two are at Lake of the Ozarks State Park.

“Providing these types of alternative camping options allows visitors to have a new experience in our state parks,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks. “A yurt is a great way to experience the outdoors while still having the comforts of climate control, protection from the elements and a locking door. I would encourage anyone who is interested in a stay in one of these unique structures to make their reservation at Lake of the Ozarks or Pomme de Terre state parks today.”

 

 

Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

July 29, 2013 by · Comments Off on Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds 

 

A view of the Torngat National Park in Labrador

LABRADOR

From canoe.ca:

An American lawyer who was attacked by a polar bear in Torngat Mountains National Park in northern Labrador remains in critical yet stable condition in a Montreal hospital, his wife said Saturday (July 27).

Matthew Dyer, of Maine, was on a tour of the park with a group from the Sierra Club when he was attacked by a polar bear at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday (July 24). He was initially brought by helicopter to a George River, Quebec, hospital before being transferred to Montreal for treatment of broken bones and bite wounds.

Dyer’s wife, Jeanne Wells, said in a statement: “My husband is in critical but stable condition, he is a strong man and he is making improvements every day. My husband has received incredible care in Canada and at the Montreal General Hospital; I believe that’s why he is still alive. Thank you to everyone for their concern.”

Wells told the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal newspaper that the attack happened while the group slept, and that Dyer fought the bear.

“He fought the bear, and they fired flares and the bear dropped him,” she told the newspaper.

OREGON

From The Oregonian, Portland:

Four campgrounds in south Deschutes County were evacuated Sunday afternoon (July 28) as crews fended off a new wildfire near the Wickiup Reservoir.

Reports of the blaze, known as the Browns Creek Fire, came in at about 1 p.m. At the time, the fire covered about two acres, but crews estimate it grew to as much as 40 acres within the next four hours.

Crews evacuated the Sheep’s Bridge, South Twin Lake, North Twin Lake and Gull Point campgrounds. The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway remains open, but firefighters shut down Forest Road 42 amid concerns about traffic and safety.

The Redmond Hotshots and a 20-person hand crew worked throughout the afternoon attempting to contain the fire. The crews had help from three helicopters, nine fire engines and officers from the Forest Service and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials have not yet determined the cause of the fire.

TEXAS

From a news release:

Katy-based Igloo Products Corp., the nation’s largest cooler manufacturer, has added a new tent style to its Igloo Outdoors product lineup — the Log Cabin Lodge tent.

Igloo product manager Michelle Stone says, “The Log Cabin Lodge tent has a classic log cabin look and feel with all of the best amenities of an Igloo Outdoors tent. It’s perfect for a large group setting up base camp or just out for a weekend getaway.” The Log Cabin design is the first in a series of proprietary and protected designs Igloo will be bringing to the market.

The eight-man Log Cabin Lodge tent sleeps eight comfortably and has a screened-in porch for outdoor enjoyment. The cabin silhouette with the unique log and river rock pattern has the true look and feel of a log cabin. The tent has Igloo exclusive MaxDry weather protection system to eliminate water seepage, Cool Riser Technology—a system of lower mesh vents that draw cool air in from the base and hot air out through the roof—and UV-Ban—a specialized coating that reflects heat and harmful sun rays with an ultraviolet protection rating of 50 plus—to create the ultimate rustic luxury tent.

With reflective tape that highlights the tent door at night, convenient mesh pockets and a hanging corner shelf to keep smaller items organized, water resistant tub floors designed to deflect water away from seams and easy-to-access weather-protected passage for cables; the Log Cabin Lodge tent is exceptionally featured.

The 156-square-foot Log Cabin Lodge tent will be available at retail in Spring 2014 with an MSRP of $249.

For further information about the Log Cabin Lodge tent or about any other Igloo product, contact Katie Davis at KDavis@igloocorp.com or visit the company’s website at http://www.igloocoolers.com.

CALIFORNIA

From The Associated Press:

A lightning-sparked fire in the Sierra National Forest about 75 miles northeast of Fresno has prompted the closure of multiple campgrounds.

The U.S. Forest Service said Friday (July 26) that the Aspen Fire has so far consumed a little more than 7 square miles around Huntington Lake, which is near Shaver Lake. It is not threatening any communities, but Fresno County Sheriff’s officials said at least 16 campgrounds in the area have been evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Trails and recreational areas in the Kaiser Wilderness near Huntington Lake are also closed.

Authorities say crews are having a hard time containing the fire due to heavy smoke and steep terrain.

COLORADO

From Camp Colorado e-newsletter:

Fleetwood RV Inc. is hosting is 5th Annual National Owner’s Rally this week in Pueblo with a new motorhome display, vendors, seminars, kids’ activities, meals, entertainment, and access to Fleetwood RV factory sales, service, and product development teams.

The rally runs from Aug. 2-6 at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.

All owners of Fleetwood RV or American Coach motorhomes are invited to attend. They also welcome guests to bring along friends and family, regardless of the motorhome brand.

CEO and President John Draheim and other Fleetwood RV executives will attend.

 

 

Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

July 23, 2013 by · Comments Off on Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds 

 

A view of the Glencoe campground near Sturgis, S.D.

SOUTH DAKOTA

From the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

The operators of a Sturgis Motorcycle Rally venue are accused of illegally polluting Bear Butte Creek.

Sean Clark and Devorah Lopez, who run Glencoe Camp Resort, were indicted July 17 in U.S. District Court on two counts of point source pollution.

The indictment alleges they discharged dirt from earth moving equipment into the creek on at least two occasions in July 2012 without a permit.

Lopez bought the campground for $8.6 million in 2009.

KENTUCKY

From The Associated Press:

Three more state parks in Kentucky are about to gain the designation as “StormReady Supporters.”

Paintsville Lake State Park, Carr Creek Lake State Park and Yatesville Lake State Park are to be recognized next Monday.

Officials from the National Weather Service and the state Parks Department will attend a ceremony at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park at Prestonsburg.

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park was the first park to earn the designation in April 2010. Since then, the number of “StormReady” state parks in Kentucky has risen to 16.

By having the “StormReady” designation, a park can monitor weather, has a trained staff, can communicate weather warnings to guests and employees and is able to provide shelter. The park also has to be able to communicate with state and local emergency management offices for assistance.

WEST VIRGINIA

From The Associated Press:

Vacationers can now reserve cabins at West Virginia’s state parks for just two nights instead of a full week.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced the change Monday (July 22).

Ken Caplinger, chief of the Parks and Recreation Section, says officials have seen a growing interest in shorter-term rentals rather than the weeklong stays, which was the custom for decades. He says many parks already have offered special three- or four-night reservation packages, and officials decided to take it a step further for the rest of the summer.

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting:

Imagine being in a wheelchair or having a prosthetic leg and trying to enjoy the outdoors by hiking trails in a state or national park. The rugged terrain and thick brush would make that nearly impossible for some. A group of Boy Scouts left the jamboree site at the Summit Bechtel Reserve July 19 to make it a little bit easier for those with mobility impairments to enjoy the outdoors.

More than 300 Boy Scouts from around the country teamed up with the National Park Service at the Glade Creek Trailhead along the New River Gorge to build wheelchair-accessible trails and picnic areas.

Other scout-led projects at Glade Creek include improvements to an existing handicap-accessible campsite, and building an accessible picnic area near a boat ramps near the mouth of the Creek.

TEXAS

From the Southeast Texas Record:

The owner of a Bacliff RV park and one of his clients have initiated legal action following an alleged arson.

William Montgomery, doing business as Pelican RV Park, and Artesia, N.M., resident Joe Torres allege that Bacliff resident Shirley Ekstrom is responsible for a fire two years ago that damaged “multiple” fixtures and properties, including Torres’s 2007 Holiday RV, at the subject facility.

Montgomery and Torres’s lawsuit was filed July 15 in Galveston County District Court.

According to the original petition, the July 17, 2011, blaze in question originated in Eckstrom’s adjacent garage and “quickly” spread to the RV Park.

Montgomery adds the fire took about three hours to extinguish as well as left “significant” destruction in its wake.

The Galveston County Sheriff’s Department determined arson to be the cause of the inferno the plaintiffs assert Eckstrom intentionally caused.

The suit shows the fire consumed Torres’s vehicle and the contents contained within while it purportedly cost Montgomery three months of income.

Torres’s insurer, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., is also being sued because it apparently failed and refused to cover his reported damages.

A jury trial is requested.

From KGBT-TV, Harlingen:

A suspect is behind bars a month after the burglarizing 11 RVs and a building at the Texas Trader RV park in La Feria.

Jeremy Castillo allegedly committed the second-degree state jail felony when he and three others went on a theft rampage last month.

Castillo was booked at the Cameron County Jail on July 18 on 11 counts of burglary.

Erik Valdez, Dakota Ruiz and Noe Mascorro were previously arrested for their part in the theft rampage.

The four men allegedly used a pressure jack to break into the building’s side garage door.

According to court documents obtained by Action 4 News, the owner said he was missing a handgun from his office.

The men also allegedly stole TVs, knives and other items and a stashed them in an abandoned house.

The four allegedly broke into the place because they thought there was no surveillance cameras, alarms or security guards.

Castillo’s bond was set at $240,000 for the 11 counts of burglary of a habitation and one count of burglary of a building.

 

Map shows major active wildfires in the Western U.S. Fires marked in red number is most serious, followed by blue and black. Map courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

WYOMING

From County10, Lander:

The official Shoshone National Forest Twitter feed announced that at about 2:50 p.m. Monday (July 22) the evacuation of the campgrounds within Sinks Canyon State Park.

The U.S. Forest Service has dubbed the blaze “Fairfield Fire.”

Air crews have begun arriving to the scene of the fire that began on Fairfield Hill in Sinks Canyon. It is unknown at this time whether fire retardant drops have occurred.

Despite the voluntary evacuation of the Central Wyoming College Sinks Canyon Center, homes at the base of the canyon have not been asked by officials to evacuate as of 3:40 p.m.

IDAHO

From KBOI-TV, Boise:

Campgrounds near Redfish Lake in the Stanley area are being evacuated due to a nearby wildfire burning in the area.

The 210 Fire is burning off of Highway 75 near milepost 185, just south of Stanley.

Sawtooth National Forest Officials estimate the fire has grown to more than 300 acres in size and structures in the area are threatened.

The U.S. Forest Service says that voluntary evacuations are in place for the area.

Redfish Lake Lodge reports on its Facebook page that they have temporarily evacuated but are planning on being open Tuesday.

Local restaurants and inns in Stanley told KBOI 2News that they saw a slow stream of campers coming in to books rooms for the night.

 

Campers Flee Owyhee Wildfires in E. Oregon

July 3, 2013 by · Comments Off on Campers Flee Owyhee Wildfires in E. Oregon 

Undated aerial photo of the Owyhee Dam in eastern Oregon near where a wildfire rages, damaging 40,000 acres.

Authorities say some campers along the Owyhee River in eastern Oregon were evacuated as a precaution after lightning touched off three wildfires in Malheur County, KTVB-TV, Boise, Idaho, reported.

Federal fire officials say a fire near the Owyhee Dam started Monday night (July 1), and the fire area grew overnight to 40,000 acres.

Fire spokesman Tim Johnson says that as of early Tuesday no facilities or power lines from the irrigation and hydroelectric dam were in jeopardy.

But, he says, firefighters are facing hot, dry conditions.

Johnson says it’s not known how many campers were advised to leave.

The lightning Monday night touched off two smaller brush and grass fires farther south in Malheur County, east of Jordan Valley.

A fourth lightning fire, midway between Ontario and Burns, started Sunday.

Fire Threatens South Fork and Campground

June 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on Fire Threatens South Fork and Campground 

South Fork, Colo.. as seen from the summit of Agua Ramon Mountain The fictional Griswold family camped in South Fork in 1983’s “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

A massive wildfire is headed toward a Colorado mountain town, and fire managers say the chances of saving it are slim.

The tourist town of South Fork was evacuated today (June 21) as the 47-square-mile acre West Fork Fire moved closer, The Associated Press reported. Wildland firefighters were teaming up with local firefighters to try to save the town, which is surrounded by forest.

Fire spokesman Penny Bertram says officials rate the chances of saving the town of about 400 full-time residents as “low to moderate.”

Bertram says the hot, dry and windy weather along with large stands of beetle-killed trees are causing extreme fire behavior. While most fires actively burn four hours a day, this one is burning for 12.

Wildfire Threatens Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

June 13, 2013 by · Comments Off on Wildfire Threatens Royal Gorge Bridge & Park 

Royal Gorge Bridge

Wildfires in Colorado are taking their toll.

Sheriff’s officials released a preliminary list Wednesday showing the Black Forest Fire northeast of Colorado Springs has destroyed at least 92 homes and damaged five more. The fire was among several that surged rapidly Tuesday along Colorado’s Front Range, The Associated Press reported

 A 4 1/2-square-mile wildfire that evacuated Royal Gorge Bridge & Park has destroyed 20 structures, including some in the park, the Denver Post reported.

The Royal Gorge suspension bridge spanning a canyon across the Arkansas River has fire damage to 32 of its 1,292 wooden planks, city officials said. An aerial tram car and tram buildings on either side of the gorge were destroyed, and the tram cable fell into the gorge. An incline railway descending 1,500 feet to the canyon floor was damaged.

Colorado’s historic Royal Gorge Bridge is intact, but its structural integrity needs to be evaluated, said fire information officer Mike Smith.

The fire, which began Tuesday on the south side of the Royal Gorge, was about 20% contained by Wednesday night.

Smith has received unverified reports that wooden plankings of the mostly steel bridge have been scorched, he said.

“Even if it didn’t char the planking, the heat from adjacent burning buildings may have affected the cables,” Smith said.

The fire began Tuesday afternoon on the south side of the Royal Gorge.

Another fire sparked by lightning Monday in Rocky Mountain National Park has grown to an estimated 600 acres in area with trees killed by pine beetles.

 

 

 

 

 

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