SALT LAKE CITY — The effects of last year’s Pole Creek Fire and Bald Mountain Fire are making themselves known to hunters and outdoor enthusiasts looking to enter the Mount Nebo area and its trails.
The fires burned over a combined 68,000 acres in Utah County last September. A lightning strike started the fire in Pole Creek.
Since then, storms have caused flooding and mudslides to occur in and around where the fires occurred, causing further damage to popular road passages and trails. These areas present hazardous conditions to anyone entering and looking to participate in outdoor activities.
The areas facing closures are to keep recreationists safe. Of the closures, the biggest and most notable areas are Bennie Creek and Nebo Creek roads.
“Bennie Creek and Nebo Creek Roads, popular areas for hunting and other outdoor activities, remain closed because they continue to sustain new damage with each passing storm. This damage makes the roads dangerous and even impassable,” according to a news release from the Utah County Sheriff's Office last week.
Although the fires occurred in September 2018, the timeline for reforestation can take upwards to two or three years. Human interference can delay trail rehabilitation and vegetation regrowth.
The burns from the fires and the changing weather make the affected areas unpredictable, and standing trees are susceptible to breakage from oversaturated soils, causing them to fall.
“Other than locals who need to get to their homes, we advised anyone who is looking to go out on four-wheelers or do outdoor recreational activities to stay off the trails,” Utah Country Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.
Signs are placed warning hunters and outdoor enthusiasts about the dangers of entering these closed-off trails.
“If you see the signs, please stay clear of those areas. We wouldn’t want anything to happen to anyone,” Cannon said.