Blaze Closes South Entrance To Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado -- A house fire spread to 15 additional homes in Estes Park around noon on Saturday.The fire, in a cabin on High Drive also spread to nearby wildland, sending a thick plume of black smoke into the sky over Estes Park.The Woodland Heights Fire was reported just after noon and was burning near the south entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was estimated at 20 acres in size at 2:30 p.m.

The Beaver Meadows entrance to the park was closed because the fire is burning beside the highway that leads to that entrance. The road is closed from the intersection of US 36/Highway 66 into the park. Park visitors who trying to exit through Beaver Meadows Entrance are being rerouted to exit the park via US 34 and the Fall River Entrance
Traffic from Moraine Ave is being detoured onto Riverside Dr. and Marys Lake Road.

Evacuations were under way, said Julie Berney, a corporal with the Larimer County Sheriff's office. Emergency radio traffic indicated residents were being escorted out of the fire zone.Firefighters requested air support to help battle the blaze and a heavy air tanker was pulled from the nearby High Park Fire.Four helicopters from the High Park Fire were also sent to Estes Park to help fight the fire.Winds were pushing the blaze to the northeast and firefighters were trying to save homes in its path.The American Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuees at Estes Park High School, 1600 Manford Ave.