FAIRPLAY, Colo. – Fire managers on the South Park Ranger District of the Pike National Forest will take advantage of favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and forecasted weather, when they occur, to conduct several prescribed burns on about 800 acres in these locations: south and southwest of Lake George; near Blue Mountain; at the Echo/Beaver Valley Ranches; and O’Brien Gulch.
The prescribed fires are planned to be low intensity, meaning they mostly stay on the surface. Surface burning reduces the amount of timber, needles and woody debris on the forest floor, kills some of the smallest trees, and removes most of the low-hanging branches of larger trees.
These, in turn, lessen the chance that a high-intensity wildfire will occur. Prescribed burning also helps to restore the health of conifer stands and aspen groves by recycling nutrients and causing grass and shrubs to re-sprout for wildlife habitat.
Ignitions depend on certain conditions – those described in the detailed burn plans – being met, and generally occur in early October through early November. The exact dates will depend on conditions on the ground. When burning does occur, it can last up to several days. Fire managers immediately stop burning when conditions are outside of their set parameters.
During the burning, expect smoke to be visible from U.S. Highway 24. Smoke may linger in the air for several days after ignition is completed.