US Forest Service implements new fire restrictions, closures |

US Forest Service implements new fire restrictions, closures

The federal Peak One/Pine Cove campground is seen in March 2020.
Liz Copan /

The U.S. Forest Service announced new site closures and fire restrictions around the Rocky Mountain Region earlier this week, hoping to better align their policies with local, state and federal public health guidelines.

The impacted region includes 24 national forests and grasslands across Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota.

“While we know that going outside provides forest and grassland visitors needed space, exercise and satisfaction, we are taking the risks presented by COVID-19 seriously,” said Jennifer Eberlien, action regional forester. “We are providing some recreation opportunities where we can while protecting and keeping employees, the public and our communities safe from the virus as well as protecting and keeping communities and natural and cultural resources safe from unwanted human-caused wildfires.”

All developed recreation sites have been temporarily closed. And while dispersed camping, hiking and river uses are still allowed, officials are discouraging anyone from taking part on those activities.

Closed recreation sites include campgrounds, day-use areas, picnic areas and any other constructed facility amenities. Parking facilities, trails and trailheads will remain open.

Individuals still taking part in dispersed hiking or camping are strongly encourages to stay 6 feet apart from others, avoid crowds and be prepared to pack out trash and human waste.

The Forest Service also has enacted new fire restrictions. Effective immediately, the service is prohibiting igniting any fires, including charcoal grills, coal and wood-burning stoves, and sheepherder’s stoves. Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle, is also prohibited.

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