Fire recovery work in the areas of the 2020 East Troublesome and Williams Fork wildfires is ramping up this summer.
The two fires combined have burned more than 300 square miles in Grand County. Since then, many roads and trails have remained closed to driving and recreation.
Through the efforts of the US Forest Service and other partners, some areas are being reopened for non-motorized use. Currently, recovery efforts are underway in portions of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests damaged by the Williams Fork Fire, as well as Grand County Bureau of Land Management lands damaged by the East Troublesome Fire. .
As these recovery efforts continue, the Sulfur Ranger District of the Arapaho National Forest updated its fire area closure orders with some adjustments this week.
Since the fires, many areas have reopened for public use. Many roads, trails and bridges are being rebuilt and slope stabilization is occurring in critical areas through aerial mulching. The Ranger District’s 2022 Revised Closure Order reopens many roads and trails to non-motorized use.
Although critical mitigation efforts have been made along most roads and trails, the Ranger District warns the public that dead and burned trees are highly unstable and may fall without warning at any time. Visitors are most at risk when traveling at high speeds, especially in open-sided vehicles, and when camping in burned wooded areas. Burned areas also contain many unseen hazards, such as burnt stump holes, which pose a hazard to people straying off the trails.
Areas that remain closed may be prone to flooding, landslides, and falling rocks and trees. Additionally, many closed motor roads have severely damaged infrastructure such as bridges.
On June 26, rains caused a landslide in the burn scar on Colorado Highway 125 in Granby. The mudslide closed both sides of the highway. Mudslide hazards are always present during the summer months.
Scattered camping options remain limited
Many residents and visitors are looking forward to camping this summer. Scattered camping will be permitted within 300 feet of most open roads. However, some open roads will still be closed to scattered camping due to the potential risk of flooding, landslides and debris flows.
Bull Mountain’s scattered camping area remains closed to accommodate crews assisting in the recovery effort.
The closures are temporary. National forest managers are working to reopen all roads to the public. They will regularly reassess closure areas to provide the right balance between public safety and reasonable access.
Williams Fork Fire Shutdown Area
The following roads and trails remain closed to motorized use:
- Keyser Ridge Road (FSR 140.3) to trailhead; adjacent motorized tracks (M140, M141, M142)
- Kinney Creek Road (FSR 141.1)
Eastern Inconvenient Closure Zone
Camping is prohibited within a quarter mile of Highway 125 in Grand County. The following roads and trails remain closed to motorized use:
- Road to Bowen Gulch Interpretive Trail (120.5). The trail itself has reopened to non-motorized use.
- Path of the Graves (818.1)
- Soda Pass (M120), Blizzard Pass (M121), Middle Supply (M123), North Supply Loop (M124), Spruce Em Up Jack (M125), Eagle Perch Overlook (M136)
- Gilsonite Road and branch lines (123.2A, 123.2B, 123.2G)
- Creek Trail Road (116)
- Camway (M113), Trail Creek Spur (M114), Lower Gilsonite (M115), Beaver Line (M116), Gilsonite II (M118.2)
- Stillwater Summit Rd (815.1), Gilsonite Access Rd (814.1)
- West Stillwater Trail (M25.1), Sherman Creek (M50),
- Kauffman Creek (FSR 121.1)
- Gold Race (190.1)
- Cabin Creek 112 (and all adjacent roads)
- Mulstay (258.1 and spurs)
- Parkview Spur (265.1)
- Parkview (267 and branches)