The San Juan National Forest’s Pagosa Ranger District is planning to conduct a prescribed fire starting as early as April 19. Burning operations may occur over several days when weather and fuel conditions are favorable and may continue into the fall season based on weather and fuel conditions. Hand and aerial ignition methods may be utilized, following the weather, fuel, and smoke parameters stated in the prescribed fire plan. Burning operations will be conducted by Forest Service personnel with assistance from cooperating agencies. Project areas for prescribed fire implementation are:
• Between Newt Jack Road (Forest Road 923) and Catamount Trail (Forest Trail 313)
Reintroduction of prescribed fire is necessary to restore vegetative conditions. This effort will reduce hazardous ground fuels, lessen the risk of unplanned large-scale wildfire, help restore ponderosa pine ecosystems and improve wildlife habitat. Prescribed fire also reduces ladder fuels that carry fire into the canopy, killing mature trees.
Smoke may be visible from Pagosa Springs, U.S. 160, and the Chimney Rock area. Smoke may settle into low lying valleys, Devil Creek and Martinez Canyon overnight. Smoke monitoring will be conducted and ignitions scheduled to minimize smoke impacts to communities. More information about the health impacts from prescribe fire can be found online: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
Forest visitors should use caution on the trails following burn operations. Maps of the prescribed fire area and additional prescribed fire program news can be found on InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6288/. For more information, please contact Assistant Fire Management Officer, Fred Ellis, at 970-264-2268.
For information on the San Juan National Forest, call (970) 247-4874, visit the forest website.