Apart from destroying hundreds of homes and parched forest area, recent wildfires sweeping western United States, encroached national parks, recreation sites, and campgrounds thereby, adding to woes of communities dependent on summer tourism.
As U.S. Forest Service firefighters waged a long battle against wildfires that scorched 80,000 acres of mountain pine forests, prospects of tourism appeared blunted as the fires curtail trips on rivers where river rafting drew international crowd from June to August, Reuters reported.
In fact, tourists who booked rafting trips in advance cancelled their reservations as forests were cut off by road blockade and smoky haze.
Earlier, close to 300 Middle Fork rafters were stranded northwest of Salmon by wildfires grazing east central Idaho after falling rock closed the only road to the site.
Fires are burning out of control across Western states including California, Reuters continued.
Though outdoor recreation appeared optimistic last year as number of Americans engaging in recreation began to rise and local communities began to reinvent themselves as gateways to natural resources that attracted visitors, recent fires have definitely taken a toll on tourism.
Estimates from the Outdoor Industry Association pegs the tourism potential from Idaho, Colorado and California over $35 million annually, Reuters added.
Details of tourism losses due to fires and other natural disasters are yet to be made available. However, losses owing to fires and cancellations seem to have spooked tour operators.
In 2012, wildfires burnt 6.5 million acres across United States about 1.5 million acres more than 10-year average for this time of year, National Interagency Fire Center stated.