More East Troublesome burn areas reopen on public lands
The Arapaho National Forest is making changes to the East Troublesome Fire area closure.
Burned area emergency response teams have completed surveys of the fire damage and identified immediate stabilization needs, officials said Friday. Meanwhile, mitigation efforts have been completed along many roads and trails, allowing portions of the burned area to reopen.
Many forest roads and hiking trails east of Colorado Highway 125 will reopen, including the Idleglen Trailhead, Stillwater Pass Road (FSR 123), Kawuneeche Road (FSR 120), North Supply Trailhead, Supply Creek Trailhead, Trail Creek Road (FSR 116.1), Gravel Mountain Spur (FSR 815.2), Illinois Pass Trailhead, Lost Lake Trailhead, Willow Creek Pass Trailhead.
North Supply Road (FSR 120.4) and South Supply Road (FSR 119.1) have also reopened, through no dispersed camping is permitted. Dispersed camping will be allowed within 300 feet of most open roads, however there are some open roads that will be closed to dispersed camping due to the risk of flooding, landslides and debris flow.
Bull Mountain dispersed camping area remains closed to all uses to accommodate crews who are helping the recovery effort. Additionally, dispersed camping will be prohibited in the Supply Creek Area and along the Highway 125 corridor.
The western portion of the East Troublesome burned area, which is managed by the Routt National Forest, has also been partially reopened through an adjusted forest order. The Arapaho National Forest also announced at the end of June the reopening of much of the Williams Fork burn scar.
“I want to thank the Grand County community and visitors for your patience and understanding as we surveyed the damage and completed important mitigation and stabilization work in these burned areas,” Forest Supervisor Monte Williams said. “While we are opening some key roads and trails, there are still some critical closures in place. I’m asking everyone to honor these for their own safety and for the protection of our roads, trails and watersheds.”
While many mitigation efforts have been completed along the roads and trails that are reopening, the public is warned that standing dead and burned trees are very 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. Many of the roads and trails that remain closed were identified for further mitigation and stabilization prior to reopening, officials said. In addition, many of the closed motorized routes have severely damaged infrastructure such as bridges.
Current Stage 2 fire restrictions prevent making or igniting campfires and warming fires in these areas.
Officials added that forest employees, volunteers and contractors will continue working toward opening more areas throughout the summer. See a map of the current closures at http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd867991.pdf.
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