Post-event hazards from Mullen wildfire prompt temporary camping closure along portion of North Platte River

Potential hazards include debris flows and flash flooding.

Media Contact: Aaron Voos, 970-819-2898

‚Äč(LARAMIE, Wyo.)  May 12, 2021 – Post-wildfire hazards along the North Platte River on the west side of the Snowy Range, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, have prompted a temporary camping prohibition for public safety during spring run-off and until hazardous conditions subside.

Effective immediately, overnight camping is prohibited on National Forest System lands within 1,000 feet of the centerline of the North Platte River, from the point the North Platte River flows across the Routt National Forest boundary immediately south of Routt Access trailhead/recreation site to the point the North Platte River flows north across the Medicine Bow National Forest boundary near the confluence with Savage Run Creek.

The affected National Forest area is in northcentral Colorado and southeast Wyoming, on lands managed by the Parks, Laramie, and Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger Districts in Jackson County, Colo.; Albany County, Wyo.; and Carbon County, Wyo.

The closure is necessary to minimize the threat to human life and safety. Due to the 2020 Mullen Fire there is increased potential for hazards along the river, including debris flows, flash floods and hazard trees. Long-duration activities in one location, such as camping, increase exposure time and therefore increase the risk associated with these activities. 

“Run-off is beginning, and our on-the-ground observations have confirmed the modeling from late last fall, which indicates a high probability of flash flooding in some drainages impacted by the Mullen Fire,” said Forest Supervisor Russ Bacon. “This temporary camping closure is in place with the safety of Forest visitors as our priority.”

Coordination with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has occurred, due to the impact of this camping closure to sportsmen and recreationists. Day use of the river and other associated activities such as fishing and rafting may still take place.

Forest visitors should expect to find a changed landscape when they enter the burned area, with multiple new hazards. Specific to the North Platte River and its’ tributaries, water flows have potential to increase quickly, carrying burned debris, ash, and soil along with it. Debris, log jams, trees, and strainers, may create new obstacles and/or rapids in the river.

Know Before You Go’ and seek out on-the-ground condition reports before you visit. Forest Service district offices can provide information, as well as official social media pages and the Forest web site.

Information about recreation site status, maps, Burned Area Emergency Response and post-wildfire management efforts, as well as potential hazards and emergency contacts can be found on our website.

Notices, links to news articles, and additional resources are available on social media: @FS_MBRTB on Twitter or @FSMBRTB on Facebook.

  • The Mullen Fire burned 176,213 acres and began in the Savage Run Wilderness on Sept. 17, 2020. At its widest points, the fire was 25 miles north to south and 23 miles east to west. The fire impacted the Savage Run and Platte River Wilderness Areas, the North Platte River, City of Cheyenne water supply, and public and private lands in Albany and Carbon Counties in Wyo. and Jackson County, Colo.

SPECIAL NOTE: Everyone near and downstream from the burned areas should remain alert and stay updated on weather conditions that may result in heavy precipitation over the burn scars. Flash flooding may occur quickly during heavy rain or rain-on-snow events. Current weather and emergency notifications for your area can be found at the National Weather Service website: weather.gov/cys/ (Cheyenne, Wyo.) and weather.gov/bou/ (Boulder, Colo.).

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbr/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD910641