The Canyon Lakes Ranger District is beginning Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) activities on National Forest System (NFS) lands on the High Park Fire burn area starting as soon as May 6.
Next week, those in the vicinity of the Poudre Canyon could see helicopters flying overhead. They are doing aerial mulching on high priority areas, where the fire burned at a high intensity potentially damaging the soil and causing run-off concerns. Last year, 881 acres were mulched with wood shreds. This spring and early summer approximately 4,700 acres will be treated with agricultural straw. Treatment is expected to continue, as conditions allow, through July 1.
Adjacent landowners are being informed of the mulching plans. There is a 300 foot buffer next to private land; however, some mulch could unintentionally land on private land.
For safety and rehabilitation reasons, the area closure currently in effect is being expanded to include areas where helicopters will be working overhead. The closure includes the burn area south of Colorado Highway 14, except the area commonly referred to as “Crystal Wall” climbing area. There is also a small area on the north side around Stevens Gulch that is closed. Except for Young Gulch Trail and the Kruetzer/Mount McConnell Trail, which remain closed; the developed recreation sites along the Poudre Canyon are open or will open as scheduled. The Old Flowers, West White Pine, and Monument Gulch roads remain closed. A closure area map will be posted online.
Along with the aerial mulching, other activities will be taking place within the burn area throughout the spring and summer. Crews are already doing preliminary work on the Young Gulch Trail, with volunteer days expected later in the summer to complete much needed work on this highly-impacted trail. Noxious weed treatment will be taking place both within the High Park and Hewlett burn areas in cooperation with Larimer County. Additional road and trail work is also expected to occur.
Falling trees are a safety concern – both in burned and unburned areas. Rolling and falling rocks can also become a hazard in these areas when the soil is less stable. Remember, your safety is your responsibility. Be sure to check the weather in case of flash floods in the burn area and to check the status of Highway 14.