Durango, Colorado - The 416 Fire burned approximately 54,000 acres this summer and significantly altered the Hermosa landscape. Until the area receives a significant precipitation event, the 416 Fire is considered to be contained, but not controlled and the corresponding area closure will remain in effect. Therefore, the Columbine Ranger District is offering 3 guided public field trips that will be accompanied by qualified fire fighters. Each field trip will be capped at 15 people and the group will be escorted into the burn area. The following is a list of the field trips offered:
October 1 - Champion Tree Hike - Strenuous. All Day- This trip will leave from the Lower Hermosa campground and go to Dutch Creek. Approximately 9-10 miles round trip, depending on trail conditions and potential for eroded trails. During this hike we will visit some of the Colorado State Champion Trees.
October 2 – Bike and Hike - Moderate-strenuous. All Day - This trip will take mountain bikers (participants supply their own bike) from Upper Hermosa trailhead and ride to the burn perimeter. Bikes will be left at the fire perimeter and the group will hike a few miles into the burn, depending on trail conditions and safety concerns.
October 13 – Old Growth Walk - Moderate 9- 2 pm. This trip will start from Lower Hermosa campground and hike approximately 2 -3 miles to see some of the ponderosa pine old growth in the burn area.
The 416 Fire is the largest fire to impact our area since the Missionary Ridge Fire of 2002. Fire is a natural part of our ecosystem and is important for forest health and resilience, however, it is also a force that can drastically impact communities and ecosystems. The Hermosa landscape has changed as a result of the fire and this is an opportunity to see firsthand some of those changes. Moving forward, we hope we can use this fire as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of fire in our local ecosystems, and how we interact with it.