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San Juan National Forest to be closed beginning Tuesday - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

San Juan National Forest to be closed beginning Tuesday

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LA PLATA COUNTY -

Beginning Tuesday, the general public will not be allowed to enter the San Juan National Forest due to authorities implementing forest-wide, stage 3 fire closures.

In a statement released late Sunday night, the Forest Service said the closure is being implemented to protect natural resources and ensure public safety, as the risk of wildland fire remains extremely high.

The Forest Service said the closure order is expected to be signed Tuesday, June 12 and remain in effect until the forest receives enough moisture to improve conditions.

The closure order will prohibit entry into the San Juan National Forest, including entry by the general public and most administrative Forest Service employees. The closure will also prohibit most uses authorized under Forest Service permits and contracts.

What the closure means for the general public is that forest campgrounds, day use areas, roads, and trails will be closed. This includes wilderness areas, and prohibits hiking, dispersed camping, and other recreational activities. The Forest Service said exemptions might be granted on a case-by-case basis with written authorization from the Forest Service.

County roads, state roads, and U.S. highways that cross Forest Service land 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 Sheriff's Office. Businesses in local communities will remain open during the closure at their discretion.

"Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we're not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property," said SJNF Forest Fire Staff Officer, Richard Bustamante.

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 $5,000 for an individual, $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment up to six months, or both.

You can find more information here: U.S. Fores Service - San Juan National Forest

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