Just more than six weeks after establishing fire restrictions, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grasslands will lift those restrictions Tuesday on the Clear Creek, Boulder and Canyon Lakes ranger districts and grasslands.
Forest managers in coordination with other agencies made the decision because fire danger has moderated along the northern Front Range due to an abundance of monsoon moisture, according to a Monday news release.
Areas east of the Continental Divide have received enough rain that virtually the entire area is drought-free. There is a small area in the northeastern part of the state considered abnormally dry, according to the latest drought monitor map.
The Cameron Peak Fire burn scar located mostly within Roosevelt National Forest has seen multiple floods resulting in damaging debris flows from monsoon moisture in July.
The worst of those slides resulted in three people being killed, a fourth missing and presumed dead and six homes destroyed in the Black Hollow neighborhood in the upper Poudre Canyon.
Colorado’s Western Slope has greatly benefited from much-needed monsoon moisture. The Colorado Climate Center said monsoon moisture had reduced the area experiencing exceptional drought by half.
That moisture also has caused the closure of Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon where the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar has repeatedly sent large slides laden with boulders and trees across I-70, causing heavy damage.
As of last week, the National Weather Service in Boulder had already issued 259 flash flood warnings this season, the most by far since 1997, according to Becky Bollinger, assistant state climatologist.
Despite the relief, widespread long-term drought continues to grip the far western and northwestern sections of the state.
Forest managers remind people that risk of wildfire still exists and to remain vigilant when traveling, recreating or working in the forests.
The Sulphur Ranger District within Grand County will continue to implement Stage 2 fire restrictions due to less moisture.
Know before you go
Wildfires and flash floods have changed the forest landscape and forced the closure of some areas. So before you go, visit the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/knowbefore.
Reporter Miles Blumhardt looks for stories that impact your life. Be it news, outdoors, sports — you name it, he wants to report it. Have a story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MilesBlumhardt. Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.