Forest Service announces closure of all national forest land in Jeffco, five other counties

Growth in fires, persistent danger led to closure

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The US Forest Service is closing all national forest land in Jeffco and four other Front Range counties in response to the unprecedented and historic fire conditions, the agency announced in a press release on Tuesday.

The closure also includes all Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest land in Clear Creek. Gilpin, Boulder and Larimer counties. It took effect Oct. 23 and be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.

The closure does not affect Jefferson County Open Space park locations, though some of those parks do border Forest Service land which is affected.

According to the US Forest Service release, the closure is being implemented in response to the new starts and explosive growth of fires throughout the northern Front Range. The area is currently experiencing severe drought, extremely low fuel moisture conditions, and weather that poses persistent fire danger with no relief in the forecast.

“The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing on our forests this year is historic," said Forest Supervisor Monte Williams. "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. I ask all of our local residents and visitors to take these closures and evacuations seriously to allow our firefighters to focus on the mission of safely suppressing the existing fires."

As of Tuesday morning, nearly 442,000 acres of land are currently affected by wildfire across north central Colorado and southern Wyoming, according to the Rocky Mountain Coordination Center. About 3,000 firefighters and fire support personnel are assigned to wildfire operations in the region.

The orders restrict access to all but emergency personnel and persons with a permit authorizing their presence in the closure areas. Drivers authorized to be in the forest are urged to use caution, as many forest roads may be busy with firefighters, fire vehicles, and heavy equipment engaged in suppression and containment efforts.

The closure order and a map of the closure area can be accessed at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD831612.

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