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Timpanogos Wildlife Management Area closed for reseeding after recent wildfire

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A brush fire broke out at the base of Mount Timpanogos in Orem on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has closed the Timpanogos Wildlife Management Area to prevent habitat restoration projects currently underway following the recent Range Fire from being disturbed.

According to officials, the fire was started by target shooting on Oct. 17 and burned approximately 3,496 acres, including 2,000 acres — or 85% — of the management area. Latest figures show the fire is 93% contained. 

The management area, a critical wintering area for big game, will be closed to all recreational activities — including foot, bike, OHV and horse traffic — until further notice so division biologists can begin reseeding and restoring wildlife habitat in the area. Anyone caught trespassing may be cited.

Parts of the management area will be reseeded by hand beginning next week, and the rest of the area will be aerially reseeded at the end of November with a combination of native grasses, flowering plants and sagebrush. 

 “It is extremely important that we reseed the area early so that these favorable plants grow here rather than invasive cheatgrass, which not only increases future wildfire risks, but is also not beneficial to wildlife,” Mark Farmer, manager of the division’s habitat program, said in a statement. 

“In order for these plants to be able to grow, we need people to stay out of the area and not disturb the reseeded areas during this restoration process. Unfortunately, we have already seen some new mountain biking trails that have been created across the burned landscape. This will not only destroy the new plants, but it is also not safe to be in recent wildfire burn areas due to possible erosion and landslides.”

In April 2021, biologists will reassess the restoration efforts and plant growth and will determine if access to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and the Great Western Trail — which both cross the area — can be reopened to the public.