Forest Service plans winter pile burning


    By Esther Godson
    San Juan National Forest

    The San Juan National Forest fuels management staff are planning to burn slash piles this fall and winter. Operations typically take place after significant weather such as when snowfall occurs. 

    These piles consist of thinning slash from hazardous fuels reduction projects and timber sales. Hazardous fuels reduction projects target specific areas to reduce wildfire hazards to nearby private residences, land and other infrastructure. 

    Operations will begin as early as this month and could continue through April, when sufficient weather and snow is present to prevent fire spread, and will continue as long as conditions allow. Firefighters will ignite and closely monitor pile-burning activities. Burning will only occur when all conditions of the state-issued smoke permit are met. These activities should not affect public access or use of the forest.

    The Pagosa Ranger District plans to burn slash piles near the following locations northwest of Pagosa Springs: Turkey Springs Road (Forest System Road, or FSR, 629), East Monument Road (FSR 630), Newt Jack Road (FSR 923), Turkey Springs Guard Station Road (FSR 629.B) and Monument Park C1 Road (FSR 630.C1). Smoke may be visible from Pagosa Springs and U.S. 160.

    The Columbine Ranger District plans to burn slash piles in areas east of Bayfield in Saul’s Creek near FSR 608 and Fosset Gulch near FSR 613. Smoke may be visible be visible from the surrounding communities and U.S. 160 east between Bayfield and Pagosa. 

    Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For information, visit:

    For additional information on planned pile burns, please contact the specific fuels management staff at:

    • Columbine Ranger District, 884-2512.

    • Pagosa Ranger District, 264-2268.

    All offices on the San Juan National Forest are conducting business and providing services virtually. For information on the San Juan National Forest, call 247-4874.