DENVER – A large swath of forest land has been temporarily closed near Colorado’s populated Front Range region to help firefighters battle wildfires and prevent new ones from starting on the very dry terrain.
The closures of land in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in five counties went into effect at midnight Tuesday.
“The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing on our Forests this year is historic,” Forest Supervisor Monte Williams said 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.”
Besides the drought conditions, the Forest Service said the closure was necessary because of the rate of fires started by people and the limited number of resources to fight multiple fires.
The closed land serves as the playground for people who live in urban areas in and around Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder, offering nearby places to hike, bike, camp and shoot.
According to the Rocky Mountain Coordination Center, nearly 691 square miles of land are affected by wildfires burning in north-central Colorado and southern Wyoming.