Was out there today and, unfortunately, did not know to look for this road. Definitely will next time. However, we did find & experience “the slow hell of the pot-holed ‘short cut'”! Unpleasant and not scenic enough to warrant the effort.
Don’t know about any fire, certainly possible. Just assumed you thought fire because of all the dead and dry trees. With no top soil any prolonged dry spell causes many plants and trees to die or have very stunted growth. No guess on the road.