Cameron Peak fire, colorado wildfire
Smoke from the Cameron Peak Fire in Northern Colorado rolling over west Loveland. Photo Cred: Chad Claeyssen

Colorado Closes National Forests, RMNP Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Fire Danger

Nearly half a million public acres in Colorado remain closed to all recreation due to wildfire activity across the state. The East Troublesome Fire is the latest wreaking havoc on the range.

With major fires already in motion on the Colorado landscape, the East Troublesome Fire grew an astounding 100,000 acres overnight. Further, the Cameron Peak, CalWood, and Lefthand Canyon fires continue to burn in a late-season onslaught like nothing else in the state’s recent history.

As a result, the USDA National Forest Service made the decision to close all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties on October 21. The USFS reports that wildfire currently affects 442,000 acres. And that number is likely to grow with the rapid progression of the East Troublesome Fire, which currently stands at only 5% containment.

Evacuations, Closures, and Wildfire-Related Refunds for Hunters

Fire closures on the Front Range. Oct 21, 2020.
Fire closures on the Front Range. Oct 21, 2020.

Communities have evacuated across the state, including Estes Park and Grand Lake. Recreation closures blanket the Front Range, including the recently closed Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition, Colorado Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is issuing wildfire-related refunds for hunters with deer and elk tags in affected areas. More than 3,000 wildland firefighters are working to contain the flames.

Above all, safety is the highest priority for all affected. And the USFS looks to keep it that way.

“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.”

See the full list and map of closures here

Nicole Qualtieri

Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.