Prescribed Fire on the South Park Ranger District

General Information

Visit our forest's home page for general information about prescribed fire.

The South Park Ranger District regularly post Tweets about our prescribed fires. Follow us on Twitter: @PSICC_NF for updates.

2018 Fall Broadcast Burn Projects

WILSON RX: Five units, totaling approximately 400 acres, are targeted for this fall. Some or all units may be burned depending on conditions. Units may be broken into smaller units, if needed, to reduce smoke impacts. They are located along the east side of the Blue Mountain road (County Road 61) just south of Lake George. Most of the project area has been thinned with the slash chipped and removed from the site.  Vegetation is primarily open ponderosa pine, grass, and shrubs. The objectives are to reduce surface fuel loading and ladder fuels while regenerating grasses and shrubs. The overall goal is to reduce potential for high intensity fires and lower the risk to adjacent private lands and homes. A secondary objective is to improve wildlife habitat. Use the Twitter Hashtag: #LakeGeoRx

O’BRIEN RX: One unit of approximately 265 acres is planned here. They are located approximately three miles southwest of Lake George between Rocky and O’Brien Gulches and Eleven Mile Canyon; south of Forest Road 251.1B. Ponderosa pine is the most common vegetation but it includes meadows, aspen and Douglas fir. The steeper south facing slopes, such as in O’Brien Gulch, are mostly grass and shrubs. There are pockets of heavier down and dead material. The objectives are to reduce surface fuel loading and ladder fuels with secondary objectives of regenerating grasses and shrubs to improve wildlife habitat. The overall goal here too is reduce potential for high intensity fires and lower the risk to adjacent private lands and homes. Use the Twitter Hashtag: #LakeGeoRx

BEAVER RX: Three units, of approximately 210 acres, are planned here. They are located approximately eight miles southwest of Lake George off County Road 100 near the Beaver Valley subdivision. Ponderosa pine and aspen with grass are the most common vegetation, but it also includes pockets of Douglas fir/mixed conifer. Areas of these units were thinned, piled, and burned. There are pockets of heavier down and dead material. The objectives are to reduce surface fuel loading and ladder fuels with secondary objectives of regenerating grasses and shrubs to improve wildlife habitat. The overall goal here too is reduce potential for high intensity fires and lower the risk to adjacent private lands and homes. Use the Twitter Hashtag: #LakeGeoRx

South Park Ranger District - Fall 2018 Prescribed Fire Map

What to Expect

Before

Very detailed burn plans are prepared well ahead of time, which are used to guide the implementation of these burns. A GO/NO-GO checklist is performed prior to ignition to make sure all requirements to burn are in place before the final decision to burn is made. Weather and fuel conditions are critical to making the decision to burn and can result in last minute cancellations.

During

Actual ignition of the units will take approximately two to five hours depending on conditions and unit size. Typical flames will be from less than a foot to three feet. It is during this time and just after that the most smoke will be produced. A smoke “column” will be highly visible for a long distance away, but especially from Lake George to Woodland Park and the Highway 24 corridor. This smoke column will diminish over the hours following ignition but smoke will be visible till dark. The next day smoke will still be visible from the burn, but much less (if no other units are ignited). Often, a general light haze over the Lake George area will be present the morning after ignition due to overnight inversions. Smoke will diminish each day, but may be visible until rain or snow occurs. 

Burn units will be patrolled daily until they are out or snow covered. Conditions will dictate patrol time and duration as well as the number of firefighters and equipment.

After

The results of last fall’s Wilson burn is visible along the Blue Mountain road south of Lake George. A large number of smaller trees that carry fires into the tops of large trees and which will also grow into an overly dense future forest were killed. Lower limbs of the larger trees were killed too which is a natural process to reduce the likelihood of fires moving into the crowns. The dead limbs and needles will fall off over the next several years.

Surface fuels such as the forest duff and down dead were reduced throughout the burn. Grass and shrubs were regenerated and greened up in the spring faster and more robust than adjacent unburned areas.

Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, please visit:   https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.


2018/19 Pile Burn Projects

Tornado Cleanup/Salvage Contract: Located about four miles west of Lake George and south of County Road 92 along both sides of Forest Road 251. Piles are made up of tops and limbs, as well as smaller boles. They are large “landing” type piles. The slash is a result of salvaging tornado blown down trees as well as additional thinning in the area.

Echo Beaver Fuels Project: Located about eight miles south-southwest of Lake George along County Roads 98 and 100; as well as in the area of Forest Road 884. Piles are primarily tops and limbs, as well as some smaller boles, from thinning. Larger boles were left for public fuelwood. There are also large piles left from the thinning contract along County Road 98.

Round Mountain Fuels Mitigation Project: Located approximately six miles northwest of Lake George along the 290 Forest Roads between County Road 77 and Forest Road 223. It’s made up of tops and limbs, as well as some smaller boles, from thinning.

Lake George Work Center: Located in Lake George. It’s made up of tops and limbs, as well as some smaller boles, from fuels mitigation around the compound.

Road Gulch Future Prescribed Fire Project: Located approximately six miles southwest of Lake George, off County Road 98 to the north and 3/4 mile south of Wagon Tongue subdivision. It is hand piled thinning slash of trees less than 6 inches in diameter, cut to reduce the risk for implementing a future prescribed burn here.

For all pile burns use the Twitter hashtag: #LakeGeoRx

Map of the Lake George area 2018/19 slash pile burns

What To Expect (Pile Burns)

Before

Detailed burn plans are also prepared for pile burning which are used to guide the implementation of these burns. A GO/NO GO checklist is performed prior to ignition to make sure all requirements to burn are in place before the final decision to burn is made. Piles are burned with snow cover.

During

Piles are typically ignited mid to late morning. Hand piles will burn actively for approximately an hour; the most smoke is produced during this time. Afterwards, crews will go back and “chunk” any unburned material back into the pile to improve consumption. There will be a short burst of higher activity and smoke. The piles will then burn down over the next several hours. The majority of piles will be out by evening or overnight.  Smoke production after the first day is very limited to none.

The large “landing” piles will burn actively for several hours and will take longer to burn down then the hand piles described above. Most smoke production will be done by evening, but they may continue to smolder through the night. They typically will take a few days to go out.

Burn units will be patrolled daily unless snow covered or out. Conditions will dictate patrol time and duration as well as the number of firefighters and equipment.

Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, please visit:   https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.





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