Colorado's trail app COTREX adds new feature detailing wildfire alerts

Posted at 12:25 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 07:38:06-04

DENVER — The official trails map app for the state of Colorado has a new feature as we inch closer to the summer season: wildfire alerts.

Colorado Trail Explorer, or COTREX for short, is a free app to download and provides interactive mapping of about 45,076 miles of trail across local, state and federal agencies in the state. COTREX works directly with land managers, parks, and open spaces, according to a release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). CPW and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources are responsible for maintaining the project.

More than two dozen partners use COTREX to share real-time advisories, which can range from safety hazards to wildlife closures. Now, it also includes active fire alerts — both wildfires and prescribed burns. Each alert will include boundaries, links and descriptions of the event. This data will stem from Inciweb and the National Interagency Fire Center. Management agencies that don't report to these two groups can post their wildfire and prescribed burn alerts, CPW said.

Colorado wildfire

"We’re really excited to release this fire alert feature," said State Trails Program Coordinator Joe O'Brien. "We’re committed to increasing the amount of official information we can provide to help the public recreate safely and responsibly around the state. Even if you use other trail apps, we always recommend checking COTREX for alerts or closures and downloading a free map in case of poor cell service."

In addition to these wildfire alerts, COTREX also allows users to plan routes and download offline maps for hiking, biking, horseback riding, OHV and snow sports. The app also shows which trails are dog friendly. It is free to use and does not display ads.

Calwood Fire

CPW also provided reminders about making and extinguishing campfires in the backcountry:

  • Build a minimum-impact fire only when allowed by local agencies and the risk of wildfire is low. Check fire restrictions or bans here
  • Use designated campfire areas when allowed and available
  • Never leave a fire unattended
  • Don’t try to burn trash, leftover food, or other garbage that must be removed later
  • Keep the fire small
  • Burn the wood completely to ash. Then, stop feeding the fire and give yourself an hour or more to add all the unburned stick ends
  • When you are through, saturate the ash with water, ensure it’s cool to the touch, and remove trash

COTREX began in 2016 as part of former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Colorado the Beautiful Initiative. After years of data outreach and development, CPW brought the idea to life and created a web-only version in 2017. Through a contract, the state developed the app.

Mile High Musts: COTREX trail app

Want to learn more about COTREX? Click here for the FAQ page on CPW’s website.

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