High Park Fire Burn Zone
High Park Fire Impacts
The High Park Fire greatly altered the landscape surrounding State Highway (SH) 14 from Ted’s Place through the Poudre Canyon, and will impact the area for years to come. With less vegetation to stabilize debris on the hillsides, it is highly likely that mudslides, rockfall, and washouts will continue to impact SH 14, especially during severe weather, for the next several years.
Although damage is still being assessed and proactive work will soon be underway, CDOT has staged equipment at various locations along SH 14 to quickly respond to any problems as they arise. CDOT engineers are working on plans to replace existing culverts in order to accommodate the larger amounts of water and debris that could cover the roadway. Rockfall mitigation has also begun in the area and additional signs are on order to keep motorists educated about new parking stipulations through areas at risk for washouts.
While parking along the highway used to be possible for fishing, kayaking, and other outdoor activities, restrictions are in place and will continue to be indefinitely, as some popular parking pull-offs (also used for slower traffic to pull over) are at high risk for washouts and are not safe for use at this time.
Joint Effort to Rehabilitate Area
A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team was created to coordinate maintenance for SH 14 as it recovers from the fire in the next three to five years. The BAER team consists of the Colorado Department of Transportation, the U.S. Forest Service (www.fs.fed.us), Larimer County (http://larimer.org), and the National Resources Conservation Service (www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/home). These entities will continue to work together to assess the damage to the area and to find potential solutions.
Along with CDOT’s efforts to implement rockfall mitigation and construct larger culverts, other members of the BAER team have plans for aerial mulching to reduce erosion and help prevent road damage on SH 14. These treatments are in the planning stage and the estimated total cost is forthcoming.
Safe Driving Tips
The High Park Fire made this area highly susceptible to mudslides, washouts, rockfall, and other falling debris. Stay alert as you drive on SH 14 and watch out for wildlife crossing the roadway as many animals were displaced by the fire.
Cell service is limited throughout Poudre Canyon and along SH 14. Motorists can subscribe to email and text alerts for SH 14 by clicking on the logo on the right hand side of this page, and can visit www.cotrip.org before traveling through the canyon. CDOT strongly urges motorists to check local weather forecasts before leaving for their destination.