July 1, 2022 |

The U.S. Forest Service is on alert about increased fire danger from holiday revelry and careless campers this weekend. With fire danger high and visitations up, the federal agency as mobilized a Prevention and Education Team on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland (MBRTB).

The team arrived this past Tuesday. It consists of Florida Forest Service and USDA Forest Service personnel. They specialize in fire prevention activities to increase fire awareness and reduce human-caused wildfires. While fire restrictions are not currently in place or warranted, most areas of remain in drought of varying levels of intensity.

Of special concern is the large, unpermitted gathering of people on the Routt National Forest in Northern Colorado under the umbrella name of the Rainbow Family. The group is infamous for defying rules, including obtaining Forest Service permits for their pow-wows and diverting water from streams in violation of state water rights to their campgrounds.

Carbon County Emergency Manager Lenny Layman toured the area this week and met with his counterparts in Steamboat. Layman said the Forest Service has an incident management team on site to respond immediately in the case of any human or natural caused fire.

Pictured above: Sign at an entrance to the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland. Photo courtesy MBRTB/USFS.

Layman said the Carbon County Emergency Center in Rawlins is on virtual alert and can be called into action to assist with any incidents originating at the Rainbow compound as needed.

The Rainbow Gathering “officially” starts Friday and runs through July 7th, according to the group’s various websites and social media pages.

For more information visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/rainbowgathering or contact the Public Information Line at 970-364-2201 or email SM.FS.RainbowIMT@usda.gov.

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