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San Juan NF Prescribed Fire Program

Unit Information

San Juan National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Durango, CO 81301

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Incident Contacts

Denise Alonzo
Phone: 970-385-1219
Hours: Monday - Friday 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Pagosa RD Fred Ellis
Phone: 970-264-1541

Dolores RD Matt Traynham
Phone: 970-882-6838

Firefighter conducts prescribed fire operation in South Carver UnitsImage options: [ Full Size ]

Update 5/17/19 - Thursday's prescribed fire efforts successfully burned 213 acres in the Brockover area west of Pagosa Springs. Wind and scattered showers are expected for the next few days, suspending prescribed fire operations until conditions improve. The units are between the Gopher Trail and Turkey Springs Road. Future operations will be dependent on weather and fuels conditions. 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. Maps of the burn units can be found on the maps tab.

Updated 5/8/19 - Prescribed Fire accomplishments for the past couple of weeks in the San Juan National ForestDolores Ranger District - completed all of the South Carver units targeted for spring, total accomplishment of 1,345 acres. See video of prescribed fire operationsPagosa Ranger District - accomplished 223 acres between Chimney Rock (completed) and Horsefly (ongoing) The next focus, when condition are favorable is the Boggy Draw area in Dolores RD and continue Horsefly units in Pagosa RD. Fire resources supporting these efforts include the San Juan Interagency Hotshots, Columbine Wildfire Module, and many local Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management personnel. Thank You to all involved!

In an effort to reduce the risk from high-severity wildfire, fire managers on the San Juan National Forest are increasing the use of prescribed fire. In 2019, we anticipate treating up to 15,000 acres with prescribed fire. Fire can be effectively and efficiently used to reduce fire hazard, and gain ecological and other management benefits. The Forest is separated into three Ranger Districts. Listed below, and identified on attached maps are prescribed fire projects planned for each District this year. This information will be updated as conditions change and work is accomplished.

PAGOSA RANGER DISTRICT - Prescribed fire operations will take place over several days beginning mid-April. Work may continue through June depending on weather and fuel conditions. Burn units are located in the following areas northwest of town; adjacent to Turkey Springs (FSR Road 629), East Monument (FSR 630), Brockover (FSR 919) and Newt Jack roads (FSR 923). These burn units are within the Brockover I & II, Turkey Springs Piles and Devil Creek II Burn Plans. This year’s efforts expand upon prescribed fire operations which took place in August/September 2016. It is part of an overall fuels reduction project involving both mechanical treatment and prescribed fire, encompassing approximately 5,000 acres.

Additional burn units are located in Fawn Gulch, Mill Creek and the Piedra River areas. Fawn Gulch are adjacent to Archuleta County Road 113/FSR 666, an area mowed in 2017. Mill Creek are adjacent to Mill Creek Road (Archuleta County Road 302), Nipple Mountain Road (FSR 665) and Echo Canyon Road (FSR 029). These burn units vary in size from 100 to 500 acres. The Piedra River burns include the Horsefly burn units and the Lower Piedra Campground piles. Burn Unit maps for the Pagosa Ranger District can be found on the maps tab.

Prescribed fire operations will begin in Chimney Rock National Monument as early as April 22, 2019. Less than 100 acres across three burn units are planned. Actual ignition days will depend on weather and fuel conditions, and is expected to continue over multiple days. This effort is part of a larger hazardous fuels reduction project inside the Monument that involved both mechanical treatment and prescribed fire. Some of the over story vegetation was thinned, piled, and burned in 2009 – 2010, followed by an understory burn operation from 2011 – 2014. Vegetation consists of ponderosa pine, Gambel oak, grass and pinyon/juniper. Smoke will be visible from U.S. Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 151. A map of the burn units can be found under the Maps tab on this website.

DOLORES RANGER DISTRICT - Prescribed fire operations will begin in mid-May and take place over multiple days when weather and fuel conditions are favorable. Both hand and aerial ignition methods may be utilized, and continue throughout the summer and into fall based on conditions. Project areas identified for prescribed fire implementation are;- Lake Canyon, 2700 acres, located 12 miles east of Dove Creek, west of Forest Service Road (FSR) 504 and adjacent to FSR 216 and 509.- Boggy Draw, 6127 acres along FSR 526, 527, 528 and 529.- Haycamp Mesa, 3400 acres, east and south of FSR 556 and north of FSR 557.
During prescribed fire operations, smoke will likely be visible from areas around Mancos, Dolores, Dove Creek, Cortez, and HWY 491 between Dove Creek and Pleasant View. Smoke may settle into low lying valleys, and the Dolores River Canyon overnight. Smoke monitoring will be conducted, and ignitions will be scheduled to minimize smoke impacts to communities. For additional information, please contact Matt Traynham, Assistant Fire Management Officer (Fuels), Dolores Ranger District (970) 882-6838. A map of burn units for the Dolores Ranger District can be found on the maps tab.

All Forest prescribed fire operations will be conducted by Forest Service personnel, assisted by fire resources from cooperating agencies. The purpose is to reduce hazardous ground fuels, reduce the risk of unplanned large scale wildfires, restore ponderosa pine ecosystems and improve wildlife habitat. Prescribed fires will only be ignited when all weather, fuels and smoke requirements are met.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypePrescribed Fire
Coordinates37.279 latitude, -107.882 longitude