Front Range public lands have seen high vegetative growth from spring precipitation – which may fuel wildfires during dry, hot and windy weather
With visitation to public lands increasing and temperatures expected to continue hitting record levels, a group of federal, state and local public land agencies stress visitors need to recreate responsibly and exercise extreme caution to prevent wildfires this summer.
While the Denver-Metro area has had significant precipitation this year, the moisture has led to high vegetative growth that will dry out over the coming weeks and could fuel wildfires during hot and windy weather conditions.
This reminder from federal, state and local public land managers also comes as most areas of Colorado are experiencing severe drought conditions that have led communities across the western part of the state to institute fire restrictions. Public land visitors’ cooperation is critical in preventing catastrophic wildfires like those experienced by Colorado in 2020 when fires scorched hundreds of thousands of acres, destroyed hundreds of homes and helped produce the worst air-quality the Front Range has seen in a decade.
With the Fourth of July approaching, public land managers remind visitors they have a special responsibility to protect themselves, their families and friends, shared public lands, first responders and neighboring communities. Visitors should:
- Never bring fireworks to public lands and never ignite them on trails, campsites or other areas.
- Never light campfires in areas where they are illegal or when fire restrictions prohibit them.
- Know regulations regarding smoking on trails and at trailheads. Many agencies prohibit smoking on public lands.
- Check and follow all fire restrictions and bans instituted by public land managers.
- Adhere to all public land rules and regulations instituted to sustain enjoyable outdoor experiences and preserve natural areas.
Officers who protect Colorado public lands will issue citations to anyone who possesses or lights fireworks and to those who light prohibited campfires. The group of federal, state and local public land agencies continue to remind visitors to practice responsible recreation guidelines, including:
- “Know before you go.” Remember to plan ahead, know your limits and don’t take unnecessary risks.
- Be courteous and inclusive. People have different reasons for visiting shared public lands. But everyone deserves respect and courtesy while recreating outdoors.
- Enjoy and protect shared public lands. Remember to “Leave No Trace” and pack out all trash and dog waste. Know which public lands allow dogs on trails and which don't.
- Don’t park illegally at trailheads. Make a backup plan in case a trailhead is full. Take shuttle services to popular trailheads and recreation areas.
- Stay on trail and walk through mud. Step onto a bare spot or rock if you need to step off trail. Once others pass, immediately step back on trail.
Visitors should access public land websites – including Colorado Trail Explorer – to view critical advisories and trail maps BEFORE planning visits to public lands:
- Boulder County Parks & Open Space
- City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks
- Jefferson County Open Space
- City and County of Denver Parks and Recreation
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife
- Larimer County Natural Resources
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- U.S. Bureau of Land Management
- U.S. Forest Service
- Vivienne Jannatpour, Boulder County Parks & Open Space, 303-678-6277
- Shannon Aulabaugh, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, 720-484-9903
- Jason Clay, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, 303-829-7143
- Cyndi Karvaski, City and County of Denver Parks & Recreation, 303-819-0111
- Matt Robbins, Jefferson County Open Space, 303-271-5902
- Korrie Johnston, Larimer County Natural Resources, 970-619-4561
- Kyle Patterson, Rocky Mountain National Park, 970-586-1363
- Brant Porter, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 970-901-9581
- K. “Reid” Armstrong, U.S. Forest Service, 970-222-7607