2020 Fire Recovery Information
Five major wildfires burned over 300,000 acres (more than 25%) of National Forest System lands on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in 2020 – Cameron Peak, East Troublesome, Williams Fork, Lefthand Canyon and CalWood – with two being the largest in Colorado history. The Forest continues to work closely with partners, including counties and water providers, to address long-term recovery needs. This includes working with partners to plan, design and analyze projects pairing stream restoration work, to slow flows, retain sediment and reconnect riparian areas, with roads that are being negatively impacted by post-fire increased runoff, undersized culverts and debris flows.
Recovery from these fires will take years, not months to address. We ask for your patience as we continue to evaluate and implement all the recovery work ahead of us. As recovery projects are proposed that require analysis, they will be posted on our Schedule of Proposed Action (SOPA) list.
People visiting near or in fire-impacted areas should be aware of flash flooding risks. Learn more online about flood after fire.
Cameron Peak Fire Recovery Projects Expected in 2023 (June 7, 2023)
- To date, 344,000 seedlings were planted across 1,800 acres of high burn severity forest-wide.
- The Forest is developing a reforestation strategy with partners to guide future reforestation efforts.
- The Forest is exploring using nucleation seeding to restore native species seedbank of non-tree species.
Road & Trail Damage
- Post-fire flooding has caused numerous roads forest-wide to experience culvert blowouts and debris-flow damage. Given the widespread nature of these impacts, some roads remain closed. Our engineering and recreation staffs are working to identify priority areas moving forward.
- The Forest is working with partners to complete an assessment of trail status within the footprints of the Cameron Peak, East Troublesome and Williams Fork burn to identify repair and realignment opportunities.
- Range staff is working to replace burned fences separating range allotments.
- Staff is identifying and treating noxious weeds within the fire footprints.
- Repairs are being made to historic buildings on the Forests to house fire recovery crews.
- Research efforts are also underway looking at the impacts of fire on aquatic food webs, how aerial mulching impacts water quality and sediment retention, and how process-based restoration projects will impact water quality and sediment retention. All of this with hopes that it will lead to better informed fire recovery efforts in the future.
Cameron Peak Fire Specifics
- The fire began on August 13, 2020, and burned 208,913 acres over nearly four months, growing to the largest fire in Colorado history.
- In 2021 and 2022, aerial mulching took place on 11,100 acres of national forest land.
- The Forest is currently evaluating five road improvement restoration projects and implementation could begin later this year.
- The latest closure information is on our website. Although more general forest areas have reopened, many roads accessing those areas remain closed. We also anticipate shorter term area closures while helimulching activities take place.
- Although the Roaring Creek Trail remains closed for another season, much work has taken place to reroute and rebuild this trail. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this effort, including the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers.
- Check out the Cameron Peak Fire Recovery Storymap for information from many partners regarding recovery efforts.
East Troublesome Fire Specifics
- The fire began on October 14, 2020, and burned 193,892 over a month and a half, making it the second largest wildfire in Colorado history after its historic jump over the Continental Divide.
- In 2021 and 2022, aerial mulching was completed on 10,000 acres of national forest land.
- Areas on the Sulphur Ranger District remain closed due to fire impacts. See the latest closure order here.
- The Forest is currently evaluating four road improvement restoration projects and implementation could begin later this year.
- Northern Water and Grand County have a fire recovery website with lots of helpful information.
Williams Fork Fire Specifics
- The fire began August 14 and burned 14,833 acres over two and a half months.
Calwood & Lefthand Fires
- In May 2022, approximately 235 acres of the burn areas had seedlings planted.