Wildlife Officials Urge Hikers To Stay Off Area Burned By Table Rock Fire

Jul 8, 2016

Most trails on Table Rock and in other areas burned by last week's big fire re-opened early this week. But biologists who will help oversee the area's restoration are concerned that off-trail use in the area could complicate those rehabilitation efforts.

Idaho Fish and Game wildlife biologist Krista Muller says the worst thing people can do right now is start hiking off-trail in the burn scar. Muller says though it may be tempting to try and get a closer look at the damage, hikers should respect signs and gates and stick to the trail.

“When you have a fire like this, it can create opportunities for off-trail use," says Muller. "So when you open up a landscape and there isn’t vegetation around to slow people down from walking across it, it’s going to be off-trail use that I’m mainly concerned about now.”

She says going off-trail further fragments the landscape, counteracting reseeding efforts being planned by the state and the city. Muller says unauthorized hiking could also speed up the spread of invasive weeds like cheatgrass and medusa head that thrive after wildfires, making replanting of native plant species more difficult.  

The 900 acres of Fish and Game land which burned in the Table Rock fire will be closed until rehabilitation efforts can begin.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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