Snake Fire May Impact Cheyenne's Drinking Water

Sep 16, 2016

Credit Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities

Cheyenne’s drinking water may see an impact in the coming years due to a fire currently burning in Medicine Bow National Forest. The Snake Fire began September 10 and has burned 2,452 acres. Some of the fire is burning near Hog Park Reservoir, a major provider of Cheyenne’s drinking water.

Dena Egenhoff, a spokeswoman for Cheyenne’s Board of Public Utilities, said the water from Hog Park isn’t directly used as drinking water, but is traded with Rob Roy reservoir since that location is easier to transport water from.

Egenhoff said soil recently burned by wildfire does not absorb as well, so water runs off instead of soaking into the ground.

“And so consequently, when we have rainfall or even spring runoff, burnt watersheds can often produce floods that can carry debris, sediment, ash and other contaminates into our water sources,” said Egenhoff.

Egehoff said it may take a few years to determine the impact from the fire. Meanwhile, the Forest Service is continuing to investigate the cause of the fire and welcomes anyone from the public with information to contact them.