Colorado 125: Hazards remain along scorched landscape

By Amy Golden and Eli Pace
A blackened fence along Colorado Highway 125 remains standing over the burnt landscape. At times, both sides of 125 turn black showing the extent of damage caused by the East Troublesome Fire.
Amy Golden /

A sign warning of falling trees and rocks prefaces the drive north on Colorado Highway 125.

At points, both sides of the road are black. Gnarled, dark branches are all that remain of some bushes, while the trunks of still standing trees bare their black scars.

The burn pattern has left the area shrouded in dark fields, except around some properties lining the road. The surrounding damage is more than enough to make someone wonder how crews managed to save it.

Unhinged gates line many of the side roads, and lingering dangers left over from the East Troublesome Fire remain all along Highway 125 in Grand County.

How to help

The Grand Foundation has established the Grand County Wildfire Emergency Fund to support the needs of Grand County residents who have been evacuated, displaced, or have lost their homes during the Grand County wildfires, and 100% of donations will be distributed locally to those in need.

The once scenic drive feels heavy with a sense of loss. When the East Troublesome Fire crossed Highway 125 on Oct. 21, the fire was under 20,000 acres. Less than 24 hours later, it exploded to more than six times that size, quickly becoming the second largest wildfire in state history.

The sheriff’s office received clearance Thursday to reopen areas north of mile marker 5.3 to mile marker 20 on Colorado 125, both east and west of the highway, after blocking the roads nearly three weeks ago with the fire racing across the county.

While the highway has opened to through traffic and property owners, people should be aware of the hazards that still exist in the area, including falling trees around homes, in streets and roadways and anytime someone is outdoors in the fire-affected areas.

Multiple power line workers could be seen working the singed power poles along Colorado 125 on Friday.

“Utilities continue to be a challenge in the area,” sheriff’s office added. “If you re-enter at this time, you may not have all utility services to your property. Please contact your utility companies directly for specific needs or additional concerns. You may also experience intermittent service as utility companies continue to conduct work.”

Emergency services are available in the area. People may continue to see smoke and fire in some places, and they should call 911 if they see fire causing any potential danger to a structure.

The Disaster Assistance Center moved to a virtual platform on Thursday and will continue to provide services to the community for behavioral health, insurance and general information.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.