Colorado Springs, CO (August 27, 2012) – The Waldo Canyon Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) implementation team identified human life and safety, and property as values-at-risk inside and outside of the fire perimeter. As a result, specific treatments to protect these values-at-risk were identified. In addition, specific treatments were identified to protect life and safety at recreation sites and trails within the burn area.
The Waldo Canyon Trail was identified as having potential impacts to life and safety due to the possibility of flash flooding events. Two burned wooden staircases were identified as being threats to life and safety due to their condition with exposed rebar and were recommended for removal. Re-routing the trail was required along the southern and northern portions of the trail due to the removal of the staircases which was accomplished by the Mile High Youth Corps.
To date, local fire crews have removed hazard trees from Meadow Ridge Campground, Thunder Ridge Campground, Promontory Picnic Area, and Aspen Grove Interpretive Trail. The Rampart Trail and Waldo Canyon Trail were also identified for the removal of hazard trees. Post-fire watershed conditions have changed and increased runoff and sediment threatens the trail tread for both the Waldo Canyon and Rampart Reservoir trails. Erosion control structures were installed by the Mile High Youth Corps and the Juniper Valley Inmate fire crew along both trails.
The Aspen Grove Interpretive Trail was identified as an area of concern by the BAER assessment team and recommended the removal of the burned infrastructure. The team determined that the burned materials posed a threat to public safety which included the burned signs, benches, timber retaining walls, bridges, and a boardwalk. The removal of the burned debris was completed by the local Pikes Peak Ranger District fire crew and the Mile High Youth Corps, who also implemented site restoration work.
Fifty “Flash Flood” warning signs have been installed at 15 recreation site locations by BAER trail specialists within the Waldo Canyon Fire perimeter. The potential for flash floods and the threat to public safety due to those flash floods will continue until the vegetation recovers and the post-fire watershed response resembles a pre-fire response.
Because of this threat to human life and safety, and to protect the recovery of natural resources, forest users are reminded of the necessity of the closure of national forest system land within the Waldo Canyon burned area. The public needs to be aware that Forest Service law enforcement officers are issuing citations to violators who venture into the closed area of the fire perimeter.
For Waldo Canyon BAER information, contact Public Affairs Officer Barb Timock at (719) 553-1415, or Cathleen Thompson at (707) 853-4243. Additional fire information is available at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2929/
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