Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge closed because of plague-carrying fleas

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 Several popular locations around Commerce City are closed because of plague-carrying fleas affecting colonies of prairie dogs

A city press release said the Tri County Health Department recommended closing several sites around town. Those include the Prairie Gateway Open Space and fields at East 56th Avenue and Quebec Street and East 56th Avenue and Valentia Street.  Updates will be available at www.c3gov.com.

The Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge will be closed through at least Friday, Aug. 16. The statement said staff is assessing the scope of impacted areas and is putting the refuge's prairie dog management plan into place.  Updates at fws.gov/refuge/rocky_mountain_arsenal.

The issue also forced restrictions at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Cars can use asphalt parking areas for now. The park also canceled an Aug. 3 fireworks show in conjunction with a Colorado Rapids soccer match.

"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," the statement said. Updates at dickssportinggoodspark.com.

The health department will continue monitoring these locations and other colonies.

"Our highest priority is the health and safety of our residents." the city statement read. "Based on information received from public health organizations, the risk for plague remains low. There are no known human cases at this time, but 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."