Wildfire burn areas to impact visitation on Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests in 2021

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 6:54 PM CDT
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LARAMIE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) - In 2020, three large wildfires severely impacted the landscape of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests (MBR) in northcentral Colorado and southeast Wyoming. The East Troublesome, Middle Fork, and Mullen fires cumulatively burned 240,906 acres managed by the MBR. All three fires burned in a mosaic pattern and burn severity varies widely.

Fire recovery is a U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Regional priority and local Forest objective in the coming year. Emergency stabilization and post-fire restoration work has already begun to be implemented. Initial Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) assessments are complete for Middle Fork and Mullen, and still underway for East Troublesome. As access to burned areas improves, additional assessments from Forest Service specialists and partners may occur. This could result in identification of additional restoration needs over and above what was initially found.

So, as Forest visitors make plans to visit areas near the fire footprints this coming year, they should expect to find a changed landscape, with the potential for both long and short-term closures, as well as potential hazards. Hazards could include debris flow, flash flooding, and falling trees.

In addition to 2020 and within the last five years, the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests have had multiple large wildfires including Badger Creek (2018), Beaver Creek (2016), Ryan (2018), and Silver Creek (2018). All of which were over 20,000 acres in size. Those areas are also recovering and impacts to visitation remain.

Know Before You Go’ and seek out on-the-ground condition reports before you visit. Forest Service district offices are great sources of information, as well as official social media pages and the MBR web site.

Information about recreation site status, maps, BAER and post-wildfire management efforts, as well as potential hazards and emergency contacts can be found on our website.

Notices, links to news articles, and additional resources are available on social media: @FS_MBRTB on Twitter or @FSMBRTB on Facebook.

  • The East Troublesome Fire was reported on Oct. 14, 2020 and ultimately burned 193,812 acres. The origination point was northeast of Kremmling in Grand County, Colo. on a portion of the Arapaho National Forest, managed by the Routt National Forest. Impacted areas included the two afore-mentioned National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Rocky Mountain National Park, and private lands. Portions of these areas remain closed for public safety due to snag trees and other hazards.
  • The Middle Fork Fire burned 20,433 acres largely in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness north of Steamboat Springs, Colo. It impacted both Routt and Jackson Counties in Colo. and began Sept. 6, 2020.
  • The Mullen Fire burned 176,213 acres and began in the Savage Run Wilderness on Sept. 17, 2020. At its widest points, the fire was 25 miles north to south and 23 miles east to west. The fire impacted the Savage Run and Platte River Wilderness Areas, the North Platte River, City of Cheyenne water supply, and public and private lands in Albany and Carbon Counties in Wyo. and Jackson County, Colo.

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