San Juan National Forest to conduct pile burning this fall and winter


By Rebecca Robbins 
Forest Service

The San Juan National Forest plans to burn slash piles this fall and winter generated from forest thinning and timber sales. 

Forest-thinning projects improve forest health and wildlife habitat and reduce the risk of wildfire near private residences and other infrastructure. Thinning slash is piled and burned to remove the debris that would fuel wildfire. 

Pile burning will begin as early as this month when there is sufficient snow or rain present to prevent fire spread and will continue as long as conditions allow, possibly through April. Firefighters will ignite and monitor pile burning activities. These activities should not affect public access or use of the forest.

The Columbine Ranger District plans to burn slash piles in areas east of Bayfield in Arborgas Flats near Beaver Creek and in Saul’s Creek near Forest Service Road 608. Smoke may be visible from Bayfield, Pagosa Springs and the U.S. 160 corridor. 

The Pagosa Ranger District plans to burn slash piles near the following locations northwest of Pagosa Springs: Newt Jack Road (Forest Service Road 923), Fourmile Road (Forest Service Road 645 and 645.K), Buckles Lake Road (Forest Service Road 663), Plumtaw Road (Forest Service Road 634) and Black Mountain Road (Forest Service Road 661). Smoke may be visible from Pagosa Springs and U.S. 160.

Burning will only occur when all conditions of the state-issued smoke permit are met. Learn how smoke from wildfires, prescribed burns and pile burns may affect your health by visiting the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website

All offices on the San Juan National Forest are currently conducting business and providing services virtually. For information on the San Juan National Forest, call (970) 247-4874.