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Prescribed burning planned this spring

Fire managers on the Pagosa Ranger District are planning to conduct several prescribed burns on National Forest lands around Pagosa Springs in the next few months.

Location and size of prescribed burns are covered in more detail below:

Piedra Aerial Prescribed Burn — Located on the north side of the Piedra River between Davis Creek and Sand Creek. Burning will occur sometime in the next few weeks when conditions are acceptable. A helicopter will be used for aerial ignition of the burn area. Smoke may be visible from Pagosa Lakes, Sportsman’s Store, Arboles, the Lower Piedra, and U.S. 160. Nighttime smoke will settle into the Piedra River Canyon and may drift as far south as U.S. 160. The burn is approximately 1,300 acres in size and will take two days to complete.

Horsefly Prescribed Burn — Located along the First Fork Road (FSR 622), north of U.S. 160.? The Horsefly Burn is about 22 miles west of Pagosa Springs in the Piedra watershed.? Smoke from the Horsefly Burn is not expected to impact the Pagosa Lakes area, but smoke may be visible from U.S. 160 at the Piedra River Bridge, and from the lower Piedra Valley. Total acres burned will be approximately 150-350.

Youth Camp Prescribed Burn — Located on the north side of Chimney Rock south of U.S. 160 (behind the Chimney Rock Store/Restaurant).? This is an interagency prescribed burn with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)-Southern Ute Agency. Smoke will be visible from U.S. 160 and Colo. 151, from Arboles, and the Aspen Springs and Elk Park subdivisions. Total acres burned will be 250.

Mesa Pedregosa Prescribed Burn — Located 17 miles south of Pagosa Springs and east of Coyote Park near the Alpine Lakes subdivision. Smoke will be visible from Chromo, U.S. 84, Navajo River Ranch, Crowley Ranch and Alpine Lakes subdivisions. Total acres burned will be 110.

Brockover Prescribed Burn — Located in the Turkey Springs area, 10 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs between the Turkey Springs Road (FSR 629) and the Newt-Jack Road (FSR 923). Smoke will be visible from U.S. 160, Piedra Road, Pagosa Lakes, Archuleta County and southern Hinsdale County near the Sportsman’s Store community. Some nighttime smoke may settle in Hatcher Lake subdivision or Pagosa Highlands in Pagosa Lakes and also into Martinez Canyon. Total acres burned will be 150-500.

The objectives of prescribed burning are to:

1. Return fire as a natural process to fire dependent and fire adapted ecosystems.

2. Reduce ground and ladder fuels, decreasing risk of crown fire in forested stands.

3. Improve or maintain wildlife habitat.

4. Recycle nutrients.

5. Consume slash left over from forest health and fuels reduction thinning projects.

If you are planning to recreate or hunt in these areas, look for signs posted near prescribed burn areas.

For additional information about the proposed burns or other fuels-reduction efforts, contact the Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268.

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