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I happened to catch this headline in the news about wildfires outside Durango: Wildfires


CO has been very dry so far this year and now they are dealing with a wildfire that has shut down Hwy 550 north of Durango (on the way to Ouray).

I have to admit this wasn't on my radar of things to worry about but it's something we should all be mindful of as we travel to and from the Summit, wheeling/parking in locations that could have dry brush underneath our FJ's and observing burn bans.

You can check the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control for current wildfire info.:flame:

Be safe and see you next month!
 
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Ahhhh memories :lol: ... just like in 2012 when I went last time....

We actually stopped and I helped put out a grass fire that had started at the roadside somewhere in Colorado.

I still have the scar on my leg from that one.... :rofl:
 
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Great reminder! I have a mountain house outside Boulder and have been required (for homeowner insurance) to cut down many nearby beautiful trees :mecry: It’s easy to forget given the afternoon downpours, but those won’t necessarily douse a vigorous wildfire. Be vigilant, folks - Get your Smokey on! :wink
 

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This is very bad news:

Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public
Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public - WESTERNSLOPENOW

The closure order will prohibit entry into the San Juan National Forest, including entry by the general public, most administrative entry by Forest Service employees, and most uses authorized under Forest Service permits and contracts. This means that forest campgrounds, day use areas, roads, and trails will be closed, including wilderness areas, and that hiking, dispersed camping, and other recreational activities are prohibited. Exemptions might be granted on a case-by-case basis with a written authorization from the Forest Service, which would include specific requirements for fire prevention.

Below is the entire news release from the Forest Service:
The San Juan National Forest (SJNF) is planning to implement Forest-wide Stage 3 fire closure this week, which will prohibit most entry into the forest. The purpose of the closure is to protect natural resources and public safety due to the danger of wildland fire. Fire danger on the SJNF remains very high due to exceptional drought and fuel conditions. The closure order is expected to be signed Tuesday, June 12, 2018 and remain in effect until the forest receives sufficient moisture to improve conditions.

The closure order will prohibit entry into the San Juan National Forest, including entry by the general public, most administrative entry by Forest Service employees, and most uses authorized under Forest Service permits and contracts. This means that forest campgrounds, day use areas, roads, and trails will be closed, including wilderness areas, and that hiking, dispersed camping, and other recreational activities are prohibited. Exemptions might be granted on a case-by-case basis with a written authorization from the Forest Service, which would include specific requirements for fire prevention. Exemptions must be requested from the appropriate District Ranger (below). Federal, state, or local officers conducting specific duties are exempt. The McPhee Recreation Area Complex boat ramp and marina will likely remain open but no shoreline use will be allowed.

The SJNF covers 1.8 million acres within the Dolores Ranger District, the Columbine Ranger District, and the Pagosa Ranger District across nine counties in southwestern Colorado. County and state roads and U.S. highways that cross Forest Service lands will not be affected by this order. On-going road closures due to the 416 Fire will continue to be managed by the La Plata County Sherriff. Businesses in local communities will remain open for business during the Forest closure at their discretion.

San Juan National Forest Supervisor, Kara Chadwick, wants concerned citizens to know that instituting a forest closure is an extremely difficult decision, and she is aware that the closure will affect a great many people, businesses, partner agencies, forest management activities, and the public. Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to implement restrictions and closures, including fuel moistures, current and predicted weather, values at risk from wildfire, fire activity levels, and available firefighting resources. The SJNF implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions on May 1, then Stage 2 fire restrictions on June 1, but conditions continued to worsen. “The indices our fire team uses to predict fire danger are at historic levels well before we can expect any significant moisture from the seasonal monsoons,” SJNF Forest Fire Staff Officer, Richard Bustamante said. “Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property.”

Violating Stage 3 fire restrictions or going into a closed area carries a mandatory appearance in federal court, and is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both

This effectively closes every trail that is used by the Summit until there is "sufficient moisture to improve conditions". This year has been extremely dry. I don't see the bans being lifted until the snows begin in the fall.
 

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With the monsoon rains that typically start this month that could change very quickly. We already have some chance of rain (20-50%) predicted for many days over the next two weeks. Pray for rain.


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This winters greenery is now brown and dry. We have already had a couple of small fires up here in my area. Last year was bad I think this year will be worse.
 

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here is the link to San Juan National Forest website and announcement:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD583149


I am not attending the Summit, but I think organizers and attendees should start thinking about a possible plan B if it remains closed and if Uncompahgre National Forest also implements the same stage 3 closure.

Time will tell, but I am certain this will create an absolute political sh*tshorm (and should) from these towns and communities that rely on tourist dollars over a very short Summer tourist season.

I have lived in Colorado my entire life (56 years) and never heard of closing a national forest to all access (not that it may not have happened historically but I certainly don't remember anything like that except for closure of areas where they are actively fighting a forest fire).

I think we can all agree on absolute fire bans, but restricting everybody from entering the entire 1.8M acres of a national forest is extreme. I suspect this is not going to be tolerated and that people will not be likely to comply. Will be very difficult enforcing this ban. There probably arent enough LEO and NFS personnel in the entire US to block access from 1.8M acres. And, if the adjacent national forests aren't under stage 3 restrictions people will be able to crossover into the San Juan National Forest. I will note that forests belong to the people of the United States -- not the government. They are ours to be used collectively. We simply put the government in charge to manage our forests with reasonable rules. They may be a little mixed up on who really owns these and who is really in charge.

No doubt more to come on this unprecedented action that will absolutely affect the FJ Summit if it remains in effect for the next couple weeks/months.
 

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SilvrFX. You are spot on .
 

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I think the thing to keep in mind is that we want to act safely and not put ourselves in harms way. Or get in the way or be a distraction to firefighters, etc. If they do cordon off the forest and people still want to access it you risk the fine minimally -if you are spotted from ground or air. At this stage we are not attending and gave up our reservation at Ouray Inn. Next year perhaps!

Mike
 

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There is concern that they may move the machinery that clears Black Bear for the upcoming season elsewhere to help combat the fires and should that occur there's a distinct possibility that Black Bear won't be open by Summit time. It's my understanding that the Summit officials are working very hard with local officials to try and insure the event happens as usual. With government officials though you just never know.
 

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I would hate to miss the event, but I want the area to remain, and if staying away during this times helps preserve it, so be it. I live in a very dangerous fire area, have had several over the 28 years I have lived in the mountains of SoCal. They happen fast and move quickly. They create their own weather as they move.

California had the worst fire in its history I believe. It was just put out a few days ago actually.

Still a lot of time for rain to move into the area and stop the threat.

We were leaving Friday to head to Denver and going thru Cortez, Delores, Telluride and Ridgeway. Will now travel thru New Mexico.

Prayers for the fire fighters and the local residents. I have dealt with it many times. Nothing I want to be in for any reason. Stay out of the region and the way of the great people that put thier lives on the line to protect the people and wildlife.

Sad situation to say the least. Absolutely hate the chance of losing one of the most beautiful places on earth.
 

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I received a email today saying that the Show is still going to go on . Regardless i am going . Worse case i can put on my Fireman costume and pay for my trip > Moab will be great I will be able to ask Deb a ton of questions lol If this **** really hits the fan we can Forge West about 10 hours and take on the Mighty Rubicon .
 
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I received a email today saying that the Show is still going to go on . Regardless i am going . Worse case i can put on my Fireman costume and pay for my trip > Moab will be great I will be able to ask Deb a ton of questions lol If this **** really hits the fan we can Forge West about 10 hours and take on the Mighty Rubicon .
I dont think you have to go to Cali to get more trails. The rest of Colorado has an immense amount of 4WD trails that you can enjoy. Plenty around Gunnison, CB, Buena Vista, Salida, etc.
 

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I received a email today saying that the Show is still going to go on . Regardless i am going . Worse case i can put on my Fireman costume and pay for my trip > Moab will be great I will be able to ask Deb a ton of questions lol If this **** really hits the fan we can Forge West about 10 hours and take on the Mighty Rubicon .
I dont think you have to go to Cali to get more trails. The rest of Colorado has an immense amount of 4WD trails that you can enjoy. Plenty around Gunnison, CB, Buena Vista, Salida, etc.
Was thinking of just continuing to wheel Utah if Summit is closed, but I’m betting on it staying open, with a maybe on Black Bear (per official Summit email). But just the mention of Rubicon makes me grin >:D
 

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Was thinking of just continuing to wheel Utah if Summit is closed, but I’m betting on it staying open, with a maybe on Black Bear (per official Summit email). But just the mention of Rubicon makes me grin >:D
There is also some high alpine roads in the La Sal Mountains just to the East of Moab that can be explored...to get away from the heat in Moab in July.
 

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There is also some high alpine roads in the La Sal Mountains just to the East of Moab that can be explored...to get away from the heat in Moab in July.
Yup, some even have dinosaur tracks!
 

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The latest update on inciweb says the commander in charge of the 416 fire expects 100% containment on July 31.

Estimated Containment Date Tuesday July 31st, 2018 approx. 12:00 AM
https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5822/

That's not saying the San Juan NF will be closed until July 31. It could be earlier, or later.

I agree 110% with SilverFox. This closure has never been done before that I know of and it's not only a terrible decision, it's setting a dangerous precedent.
 

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Significant rain predicted for this weekend. Up to an inch possible in Durango. If we get it, fires out!


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If this closure is enforced and affects Summit where it becomes a closed event for this year, then this will be the most memorable Summit ever.

But because the Summit is fast approaching now, it is a fact that these wild fires or better yet this closure will affect the Summit in a major way. Either the Summit becomes a totally cancelled event for this year or some trails will definitely be closed to the public.

Whatever the result, this may sure be the most memorable Summit ever.

Now I wonder if I should cancel my airbnb. Oh well, keeping fingers crossed the trails are not all closed.
 

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Regardless if summit gets canceled or not, this is a tragedy because of how much damage the fire has done to the scenery. I want to say I’m for sure gonna be at summit but the whole reason I came back this year was to do a black bear photo run, now that’s up in the air.
 
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