National Park officials in Colorado say they are taking a step forward to protect the Bighorn National Forest and the adjacent Colorado Plateau from wildfires.
The move follows the deaths of two employees at a popular bighorn sagebrush habitat.
The National Park Service says in a statement that it is working with state and federal agencies to protect national forests from potential wildfires.
It says the state is working to identify areas that have not received protection in the past five years and that the Colorado Plateaus are also a critical refuge for species and natural resources.
“With the help of the National Park System, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and our partners in conservation, we have a unique opportunity to protect some of the most significant and beautiful landscapes in the nation,” said the park service.
John Hickenlooper has called for a nationwide investigation into the deaths.
Colorado Parks and Wildlands, the state’s conservation agency, has been tasked with developing plans to protect historic, culturally significant, or ecologically significant areas in the Bountiful National Forest.
Colorado parks and wildlands are responsible for more than 80% of the state park system’s land and about a third of the total number of land-based recreation sites.
“We are very encouraged by the progress of the Colorado Parks &Wildlands Office of Emergency Management and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources,” said Rocky Mountain National Park Superintendent Jim Staley.
“Our goal is to protect every area of the Brougham National Forest for future generations.