Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area is back in business following a wildfire that consumed 225 acres of the 2,100-acre park.


LAUGHLIN — Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area has reopened, less than three weeks after a wildfire chewed through 225 acres of the 2,100-acre park on the southern edge of Laughlin.

As of Sept. 4, all portions of the park were back in full swing with the campgrounds and day areas again available for use. The wildfire that occurred there last month devastated a big chunk of the area and came very close to structures such as the park ranger station off Needles Highway.

The park was closed completely for about a week while fire investigators sought to find the cause of that Aug. 18 blaze and emergency personnel continued addressing hot spots and fires burning below the ground surface.

The boat launch and the ranger station reopened in late August campground remained closed until Wednesday.

While the park is open, fire restrictions remain in place, limiting some activities. 

The following acts are prohibited:

* Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove, except a portable stove using jelled petroleum or pressured liquid fuel, outside an established fireplace in a picnic area or campground or places of habitation. Charcoal grills will be allowed in designated areas of the park, but will be restricted on windy or critical fire days. 

Restrictions will be implemented in “Red Flag” or windy conditions as indicated by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Agency and the National Weather Service.

* Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or in an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable vegetation.

* Operation of vehicles or motorized equipment off of existing paved, gravel or dirt roads.

* Operating a vehicle or other motorized equipment in wildland areas without an ax, shovel and at least one gallon of water.

* Ignition of any fireworks.

* Operating of welding torch or any other device that may cause a fire.

The restrictions cover all areas, roads and trails within the boundaries of Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area, and are in place at these other state parks in Nevada: Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Ice Age Fossils State Park, Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park and Valley of Fire State Park.

These prohibitions do not apply to designated recreation sites or places on improved habitation, and while traveling on numbered state or federal highways. Violators of the restrictions can face penalties for non-compliance, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than six month, or both. 

Caution is strongly urged while the area remains under excessive heat watches daily. While cooler temperatures are expected to move into the area this week, the respite likely will be only temporary.

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