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King Fire Area Reopened to Public

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EL DORADO COUNTY --

An area of the Eldorado National Forest closed in September due to the King Fire finally re-opened Saturday.

But the fire has still left behind many hazards for hikers, fishers and campers.

The biggest concern are falling trees, since the fire killed or has weakened many pines and other species as well as their branches.

With rain falling Saturday, the soil is also weak, and high winds are strong enough to knock trees over, which can kill anyone underneath.

"There are millions and millions of dead standing trees out there. Those trees will fall down. Some of them may fall down today, some of them may stand for years," said Lawrence Crabtree, the Eldorado National Forest Supervisor.

There are also still many hotspots left over from the King Fire which are still burning underground, according to Crabtree.

A recent flight over the fire area used infra-red technology, and rangers discovered 11 hotspots still burning.

That's not unusal in a big fire, and while those hot spots are being monitored other smaller ones could catch hikers by surprise.

The Forest Service said many people were pleading with them to be allowed back into the area to fish for trout, hunt for mushrooms or to cut fire wood, which are the most popular activities this time of year.

So the agency decided to re-open the area, but just wants everyone to be careful.

"It's just a raised awareness. When the rain starts coming up, there's a storm predicted, those kinds of things, it's time to really assess whether you should be out there or not," Crabtree told FOX40.