There has been a lot of misinformation about the wildfires in relation to Estes Park, so I hope this will give some clarity as to what is actually going on in and around Estes Park:
Woodland Heights Fire
This is the fire that was IN Estes Park. It is fully contained and all evacuees are being allowed to return home. It burned about 27 acres and 20 homes, but, contrary to many news reports, did not burn ANY of the National Park (and certainly not ‘much’ of the park) and did not spread throughout the town of Estes Park. You can see the Larimer County Emergency Postings here: http://www.larimer.org/emergency/emergency_detail.cfm?nam_id=86
High Park Fire
This is the very large and destructive fire to our north, outside of Ft. Collins, roughly 20 miles away from Estes Park. This fire is roughly 83,000 acres in size and has destroyed almost 250 homes. However it is not affecting Estes Park. There are times when it has been a bit hazy here in town if the wind is just right, and only once (when a cold front blew through last week) has the Estes Valley filled with smoke, and it was clear and smoke free after a couple of hours. But the winds are typically from the west, blowing all of the smoke out to the east northeast. It was officially reported by the National Park Service that there was only a 1% chance of the fire even reaching the northern boundary of the National Park (10 miles to our north). You can see the Larimer County Emergency Postings regarding the High Park Fire here: http://www.larimer.org/emergency/emergency_detail.cfm?nam_id=85
Other Colorado Fires
There are several other fires burning in Colorado at the moment as well. The other of great concern is outside of Colorado Springs, the Waldo Canyon Fire. However, this is over 3 hours to our south and poses no threat to Estes or McGregor at all.
It is 100% safe to come enjoy yourself and your family here in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. There is no reason not to come up and experience all that this great area has to offer! With that said, we all need to take extra precautions to assure that no more fires start. We have taken up all of our BBQ pits, and smoking outside is temporarily against the law in Larimer County. We all also need to be mindful of where we pull off the road. When we see an elk, a bear, or want to enjoy a view that reveals itself as we’re driving along, it’s only natural to pull off the road as soon as possible and grab the camera, but this can be very dangerous in very dry, red flag year, such as this year. Our cars catalytic converters get very hot and can start grass fires (this is how the Big Elk Fire was started in 2002 in Big Elk Meadows just east of Estes). No picture is worth that! We also need to hold one another accountable. If you see someone smoking outside, pulling off into tall dead grass, or having an outdoor fire of any sort, we need to let them know they are being irresponsible and endangering thousands of people with their actions. It’s actually pretty simple and easy to avoid starting an unnecessary fire.
I hope this helps clear up any confusion the media has caused with faulty reporting of fires and the Estes Park area. And please know that if there was any danger here in Estes or near the lodge, we would take the proper precautions and make sure people get out safely and or course refund any reservations that would be effected by the danger of any active fires.