Early on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11th, we began to see the development of a nasty plume of smoke coming from the mountains just west of Fort Collins and Loveland. The picture above is what we saw from our studios here in Windsor, Colorado at approximately 2:20PM.

Quickly following that, Twitter and facebook began to explode with worried citizens questioning the origin of the fire. Turns out that it is not new, the Big Meadows Fire has actually been burning in Rocky Mountain National park since Monday morning and was caused by lightening. This information was posted by Rocky Mountain National Park at 2:50PM on Tuesday, June 11th:

Significant smoke, rapidly increasing in size is being seen from the Big Meadows Fire. Although this looks like the same location as the Fern Lake Fire in the Forest Canyon area it is from the Big Meadows Fire west of the Continental Divide.

The fire has increased in size due to a spot fire from the Big Meadows Fire. It is moving upslope and increasing in size due to winds, low humidity and beetle killed trees.

No other information is available at this time. More information will be released as the day progresses.

***Update 11:00AM - 6/13/13***

Late last night officials estimated that the fire had grown to 600 acres. However after thermal imaging from a flight over the fire, a more accurate estimate puts the fire at 333 acres as of this morning. Most crews remain on the Southern edge of the fire to protect the town of Grand Lake as well as Fort Collins' water supply. A Type II team will take control of command today. Currently around 100 firefighters are battling the blaze that is burning through forests ravaged by beetle kill. The fire remains 0% contained.

***Update 4:00PM - 6/12/13***

As of approximately 4PM, the fire remains at 300-400 acres in size. Containment is at 0% and no structures have been damaged at this point due to the remote location of the fire. No evacuations have been ordered at this time but some Rocky Mountain National Park trail heads have been closed. A type 2 IMT has been ordered and an inter-agency crew from Rocky Mountain National Park and US Forest Service firefighters were flown to the fire. Other crews on the fire include a Craig Hotshot Type 1 crew and a  Boise Smokejumper Type 3 Team. Further resources have been ordered including 3 helicopters and 5 type 1 crews.Governor Hickenlooper said on Twitter that...

We are doing all we can with local, state and federal resources to help those impacted by the wildfires. At the same time, our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost homes and property in the fires.”

Check out this digital flyover the Coloradoan put together today:

***Update 8:00PM - 6/11/13***

As of 8:00PM the Big Meadows fire has grown to between 300 & 400 acres. High winds helped the fire to grow rapidly this afternoon from approximately 2 acres earlier in the day. The wildfire is burning in an area heavily impacted by the beetle kill of years past and is burning in an area that has not seen a wildfire in quite some time.

***UPDATE 5:30PM - 6/11/13***

From the Coloradoan:

The Big Meadows Fire has burned an estimated 75 acres, mainly in grassland on the west side of the Continental Divide, according to a park release. Big Meadows, the area where the fire is burning, is more than 80 miles from Fort Collins by car.


Here is the view of the smoke from Timberline & Drake in Fort Collins around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Ella Batchen