Most National Forest Land Is Now Closed In These 5 Counties To Prevent New Wildfires

October 20, 2020
Smoke billows from the Cameron Peak Fire north of Rocky Mountain National Park on Aug. 13, 2020.Smoke billows from the Cameron Peak Fire north of Rocky Mountain National Park on Aug. 13, 2020.Courtesy of Emily Fischer and Peter Girard
Smoke billows from the Cameron Peak Fire north of Rocky Mountain National Park on Aug. 13, 2020.

The U.S. Forest Service is temporarily closing some National Forest land to try to prevent new wildfires.

Multiple recently ignited and growing fires throughout the northern Colorado Front Range led to the decision to close most Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest land in five counties — Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder and Larimer counties.

The closures extend from the Wyoming border south to Evergreen and do not affect the Pike National Forest at this time.

"The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing on our Forests this year is historic," said Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest Supervisor Monte Williams in a statement. "These temporary closures are necessary to protect the public and our firefighters, and we will keep them in place until conditions improve and we are confident that the risk of new fire starts has decreased."

Like much of the state, these counties are in a severe drought with no immediate relief in the forecast. The U.S. Forest Service said there's also a high occurrence of human-caused wildfires, and a limited capacity to respond to them because of the multiple wildfires burning in the state and across the West.

The temporary closures are an attempt to prevent new fires, "and to support the suppression of the three fires currently burning in these counties," according to the statement. Drivers who are authorized to be in these areas are advised to use caution, as roads may be busy with firefighters and heavy fire vehicles.

Statewide fire restrictions have expired, but areas around these closures still have campfire bans in place.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to clarify that the closures are in Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest controlled lands.