Slideshow: A Look Inside The Galena Fire Burn Zone
The majority of the 1,348 acre wildfire burned inside Lory State Park boundaries. No structures were damaged by the fire, but Lory’s landscape looks dramatically different with entire hillsides of black scorched earth.
Park Manger Larry Butterfield estimates it will take at least 1 month of repairs before it can be opened to the public again.
“We have 10 bridges that burned in the fire and they’re along our valley trails. They lead to all our other trails. So right now it’s not safe to leave the park open,” he said.
Butterfield is starting work with volunteers Saturday to remove charred materials from the damaged bridges and then start rebuilding. The total price tag for the repairs will be about $5,000, which will come from donations and park funds.
While park officials have their work cut out for them, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District has already done much of its work needed to minimize erosion and debris runoff. Amy Johnson with the NCWCD says so-called debris “booms” have already been installed in 10 drainage locations.
“Those will basically trap any of the debris sediment and hopefully some ash as the water flows through those drainages and keep that water out of Horsetooth Reservoir,” she said.
The booms are basically a giant mesh sock filled with items to help filter the runoff. Rebar is driven through the booms to secure them into the ground.
Right now park officials have tentatively set April 21 as a reopen date for Lory State Park—right before the Horsetooth Half Marathon goes through the area. Park Manager Larry Butterfield stresses that’s a tentative date.
“It all depends on the pace that we’re able to get the work accomplished,” said Butterfield.