GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The Grizzly Creek Fire burned intensely close to Hanging Lake, although the surrounding vegetation was untouched. The US Forest Service released a photograph of the burn area around the lake during a fire update on Friday night.
The Forest Service says aerial images show the lower trail and some foot bridges likely burned.
“I’m happy to announce that the immediate area around Hanging Lake, the boardwalk, the upper reaches of the trail and the vegetation around the cliffs was not impacted directly by the fire,” said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fizwilliams. “However, the fire did burn intensely all around the area. Above it and to the sides of it. So, we’re not out of the woods, but we’re happy to report that the main front and the most intense part of the fire did not seem to impact Hanging Lake in the immediate area.”
The Grizzly Creek Fire has burned 13,441 acres in Glenwood Canyon as of Friday evening, growing rapidly to the east.
Fire command officials said that the main front and the most intense part of the fire did not impact Hanging Lake in the immediate area. However, the long-term impacts of the fire won’t be known until an assessment is made once the fire is out.
There will likely be some impacts from the burn upstream which could affect the watershed including sediment in the crystal clear water of Hanging Lake.
Fire crews said they will continue to protect Hanging Lake as not only a popular hiking spot but an example of the fragile ecosystem in Colorado.
The Grizzly Creek Fire began Monday afternoon along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon. It’s believed to have started from sparks from a popped tire, dragging chains or rim.
YouReporter James Salscheider sent in pictures of Hanging Lake before and after the fire started. The fire sent up a huge plume of smoke that overshadows the lake.
Hanging Lake Trail remains closed until further notice. All permits for hiking have been suspended. People who made reservations can either cancel their spot, donate their fee to a restoration fund for Hanging Lake or request a refund.