It took just two weeks for fire to rip through eight square miles on the Little Book Cliffs earlier this summer, but the Bureau of Land Management is hoping to reclaim at least some of that land in a matter of months.
The agency is allocating $850,000 to the Pine Ridge Rehabilitation Project that promises to help slowly transform this area into what it once was. But to the disappointment of outdoorsmen, it closes the fire's scar and some of the land around it until July of 2013.
"There's good hunting out there, you won't even be able to access the hunting," one man worried in July. "All the sudden you just show up there and it's closed."
Officials say if the problem goes ignored, the burnt-out landscape will cause greater downstream.
"The problem is this particular area is in fragile state and the ramifications are severe," Chris Joyner with the BLM said. "Unstable soil could contaminate the Colorado River which supplies water to much of the southwestern U.S."
Localized impacts could also be seen.
"Mudslides, an increased turbidity of the water, having large amounts of dissolved sediments in water to make the water impractical or impossible to treat," Joyner listed.
So for the BLM, reclamation was the only answer. And there are already good signs that initial efforts are working.
"We've put down a quick-guard annual species aimed at stabilizing the soil really quick," he said.
And this winter, the BLM hopes to spread more native seeds which should help maintain and even improve the ecosystem. "When snow is on the ground is really the best time for us. So, we're just waiting on Mother Nature."
Still, officials say it could take years, if not decades, to fully restore this area.
Officials are stressing the importance of keeping away from these burned areas during rehabilitation and say any disruption could mean a much longer closure on the Little Book Cliffs.