Prescribed burns planned for Turkey Springs/Brockover Mesa area

Special to The SUN
The Pagosa Ranger District is planning to burn approximately 1,500 acres in the Turkey Springs/Brockover Mesa area west of Pagosa Springs. The units are between the Newt Jack Trail and the TriState powerline. Operations may begin mid-August. The actual dates of operations will be dependent on weather and fuels conditions.
Ignition operations may take place over several consecutive days. The units consist of ponderosa pine, Gambel oak and grass.  The area has received previous fuels-reduction treatments. This Turkey Springs/Brockover Mesa project expands upon previous prescribed fires. It is part of an overall fuels reduction project involving both mechanical treatment and prescribed fire covering approximately 5,000 acres.
Burning operations will be conducted by district personnel and other fire resources from the San Juan National Forest, other Forest Service units and cooperating agencies. The purpose is to reduce hazardous ground fuels, reduce the risk of unplanned catastrophic wildfire, restore ponderosa pine ecosystems and improve wildlife habitat.
Smoke will be visible from U.S. 160, the Town of Pagosa Springs, Aspen Springs and the upper Piedra area. Smoke is expected to move northeast, but will settle into low-lying areas at night. 
Ponderosa pine forests are a fire adapted ecosystem, which historically experienced frequent, low intensity fires on a large scale. Prescribed fire replicates that fire regime under controlled conditions. Prescribed fires will only be ignited when all weather, fuels and smoke requirements are met.
For additional information, please contact Fred Ellis, Assistant Fire Management Officer (Fuels), Pagosa Ranger District 264-1541.
Smoke from wildfires and prescribed fires may affect your health. For more information, please go to: