Unprecedented Fern Lake Fire Finally Extinguished in Colorado

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Photo Courtesy of National Park Service: Fire burns in remote Forest Canyon at Rocky Mountain National Park on Dec. 2, 2012.

Officials announced yesterday that the Fern Lake Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park is officially out. The fire began October 9 and it turned into something never seen before in the park.

"This was a crazy fire, absolutely, and very unprecedented in our history," RMNP spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said.

The fire began in a remote area of the park, Forest Canyon, a place that hadn’t seen a fire in more than 800 years. And Patterson adds the park usually doesn’t experience fires so late in the year, and they normally don’t survive the winter at 10-thousand feet.

But the Fern Lake Fire did, fueled by beetle-killed trees, lots of vegetation and the driest November on record.

On the night of November 30, winds of 70 miles per hour caused the fire to race three miles in 35 minutes, and prompted a few hundred evacuation notices. To keep the fire within the perimeter of the park, officials brought in more firefighters on December 1.

"Many of them commented that it was extremely strange fighting a fire and hearing Christmas music in the background at the same time," she said.

Spring rain and snow helped and the fire finally burnt itself out.