Major portions of Williams Fork burn area reopen |

Major portions of Williams Fork burn area reopen

Sky-Hi News staff report
The US Forest Service has lifted the closure for much of the Williams Fork Fire burn area. The areas still closed require further mitigation due to additional risks.

Nearly a year after the Williams Fork Fire first started, a large area of the Arapaho National Forest is reopening this week.

US Forest Service officials said mitigation efforts have been completed along many roads and trails, allowing most portions of the Williams Fork Fire burned area to reopen.

The entire closure area will be lifted except for Keyser Ridge Road (FSR 140, 140.3 and adjacent motorized routes); Keyser Ridge Trail from the trailhead to the intersection of Kinney Creek Trail N22; Kinney Creek Road (FSR 141.1) from mile post 1 to the end of the road; Kinney Creek Trail N22 from the trailhead to the intersection of Keyser Ridge Trail N19; and Horseshoe Lake Trail N23.

Though mitigation efforts have been completed along the roads and trails that are reopening, the public is warned that standing dead and burned trees are unstable and can fall without warning at any time. Visitors are at greater risk when traveling at high speeds, particularly in open-sided vehicles and when camping in burned forested areas.

Burned areas also contain many unseen hazards such as burned stump holes, which present a danger to those walking off trail.

Areas that remain closed may be prone to flooding, landslides and rock and tree fall, officials said. Many of the roads and trails that remain closed require further mitigation and stabilization prior to reopening. Also, many of the closed motorized routes have severely damaged infrastructure such as bridges

Dispersed camping will be allowed within 300 feet of most open roads, though some open roads will be closed to dispersed camping due to the risk of flooding, landslides and debris flow.

The East Troublesome Fire closure remains unchanged, though officials added that the US Forest Service continues work on mitigation and stabilization efforts that will allow the reopening of a “considerable section” of that closure area shortly.

Current fire restrictions in Grand prohibit open fires of any kind, including in the Arapaho National Forest.

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