GRASS VALLEY, Calif. September 19, 2016 – With the Auburn Fire 95% contained, the popular trails in the Empire Mine State Park are reopening this morning. The fire burned approximately 44 acres of park lands on Saturday.
Matt Green, the Sector Superintendent III at California State Parks, confirmed the reopening of the trails, with some caveats. “After consulting with CAL FIRE, we are reopening the entirety of the park, but we are asking the public to remain on the trails only.”
Green stated park officials will place closure signs on portions of the trails where hot spots are still being worked on by firefighters and hazard tree removal is ongoing. The Park will be patrolled by rangers and fire personnel.
“It’s a miracle that we did not lose the entirety of the Park,” Green said. “The firefighters did an incredible job, if it hadn’t been for their efforts we could have lost everything.” He credited the cooperation between the local fire departments and CAL FIRE for protecting the historic resource all while defending homes and businesses from the blaze.
The grounds will need time to recover, hence the order barring off trail hiking. Additionally, Green cautioned hikers and joggers from exercising too strenuously. “Fine ash is covering trails and the soil. Avoid breathing in these fine particulate matters, maybe hold off on running on the trails for now.”
Crews are still busy extinguishing hot spots, tree stumps continue to smolder. Enjoy the park safely and watch as it recovers from the fire – next Spring you might see a profusion of wildflowers like never before.