SANTA FE — Forest Road (FR) 102, also known as Pacheco Canyon Road, reopens today to motorized and foot traffic.
FR 102 has been closed since last August when lightning sparked the Medio Fire, which burned more than 4,000 acres in the Rio Nambe and Rio en Medio drainages on the Española Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF).
Although the lower portion of FR 102 is open to the junction of FR 412, the gates that allow access to the upper portion of FR 102 will stay locked until snow is no longer a hazard.
While FR 102 is open to traffic, a closure order implemented during the Medio Fire remains in place to protect public health and safety by prohibiting members of the public from entering the burned area, including the popular Rio en Medio Trail.
The restricted area is roughly defined by the Rio Nambe Trail #160 on the north, the Borrego Trail #150 and FR 412 on the east, FR 102 on the south and back up the forest boundary line on the west to meet the Rio Nambe Trail #160.
Hazards in the Medio Fire burned area include:
- Fire-weakened trees and snags at risk of falling because of damaged root systems and fire-loosened soils. High winds increase the danger of falling trees, and loose soils increase the risk of rock slides on slopes.
- Burned stumps and root structures can leave hollow cavities below ground which can be difficult to detect until you step in one.
- Even a small amount of precipitation on a burned area increases the risk of landslides and flash floods.
- Trail tread may be unstable or damaged by falling debris.
Federal, state and local officers, firefighters and members of an organized rescue team, and any others authorized by Forest Service permit are exempt from the closure order.
Violation of the closure order is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.
The closure order and map are available at SFNF headquarters, the Española Ranger District Office and on the SFNF website. All current closure orders are posted on the Alerts and Notices page of the website.