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Upper Bidwell Slowly Reopens After Stoney Fire

You can head up the Chico Canyon Trailhead - but not far.

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 7:34 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 8:10 AM

Chico, Calif.-- Some good news this morning for hikes and outdoor enthusiasts: the City of Chico is opening more areas of south Upper Bidwell Park following the Stoney Fire.

But there are some important things to keep in mind if you're heading out there.

You can get about a mile up the Chico Canyon Trailhead, one of the areas now open, from Centennial & Chico Canyon Road.

But just as you get past the Wall along Big Chico Creek, where the Olive Grove lies, there's a roadblock in place.

"You might not see the danger beyond the sign, but there is a hazard - something is out there that could cause harm or even death, so please take it to heart that you need to stay out of that area," said Chico City Park ranger James LeDonne.

The Chico Fire Department and Park Division warn that there are still potential hazards in the Stoney fire area on the south side of Bidwell Park, so there are still some areas that remain closed.

The Ten Mile House Road is now open to hiking, horse-back-riding and biking, but access to the Annie Bidwell, Pine, and Guardians trails from the road are closed.

Some other things to watch for if you do go out are branches overhanging trails or areas where a root system may be still smoldering or hollowed out.

However the Stoney Fire is considered to be 100% contained, so firefighters are not concerned about enough embers or heat to re-spark a fire.

That doesn't mean there is no danger of another fire starting up.

"If you are in an area that is closed, it poses a risk for yourself and the first responders that would have to go rescue you from the dangers you might incur. And there's a hefty fine, it's a closed area," said LeDonne.

Nonetheless, the city is working to get the park reopened completely.

Some of it comes from the city budget, as well as some federal aid.

"It's our jewel, and our jewel is a little tarnished right now, we want to shine it back up and get the park back opened for people to enjoy," said LeDonne.

The Peregrine Point Disk Golf Course will remain closed, likely until next Spring.

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Gusty winds and very dry conditions are continuing to result in a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger today. Temperatures will also be much warmer this afternoon. Dry and mild weather returns on Wednesday and continues through this weekend.
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