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Plague scare closes wildlife refuge through Aug. 16

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                  The Rocky Mountain  Wildlife Refuge and the Prairie Gateway Open Space and fields near East 56th Avenue and Quebec Street will stay closed the rest of this week because of plague-carrying fleas affecting prairie dog colonies.

                  The problems began earlier in the month. The Tri county Health ?Department recommended closing those sites out of caution.

                  Staff at the refuge continued to assess the scope of impacted areas and was putting the refuge’s prairie dog management program into place. Authorities also restricted vehicular traffic at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to asphalt spaces.

                  “We continue to monitor impacted areas and are applying insecticide to eliminate fleas,” said an Aug. 8 tweet from the arsenal refuge. “We have not seen any increase in plague. The bacterium that causes plague is always present in the environment in Colorado.”

                  The refuge tweeted it was coordinating efforts with the Tri County Health Department and the city of Commerce City. First Creek Open Space Park in Denver remain closed through this week as well.

"The health department feels that taking these precautions will greatly minimize the risk of exposure to patrons, players and employees visiting this weekend and help ensure a safe experience for all attendees," a recent statement said. "Our highest priority is the health and safety of our residents. People should be aware of the common symptoms of plague – fever, swollen and tender lymph nodes, chills, and extreme exhaustion and contact their healthcare provider if they show signs of symptoms."