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San Juan NF Prescribed Fire Program

Unit Information

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

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Update 6/11/19 - Temporary closures in the Boggy Draw prescribed fire area have been suspended until additional units are targeted. All trails, roads, and camping areas south of Road 527 will be open to the public on Wednesday morning, June 12, at 8 AM. Please use extreme caution when travelling through the burned area. Crews will continue patrolling the area for safety hazards. These hazards include “hazard trees” that may fall over the fire line or over a recreational trail. Firefighters are also checking for “stump holes” in the vicinity of public trails. These holes result from a stump that has burned away. Stepping into a stump hole, may result in burns, a sprained ankle, or even a broken leg.

After a prescribed fire has been completed, left over burning fuels are permitted to continue to burn and smolder until the fuel has been consumed. This is part of the fuels treatment process. Therefore, smoke and heat will be present for several days or more after the operation is complete.

Last weekend’s firing operations have been completed, but there is still a lot of prescribed fire activity planned in the Boggy Draw area. When conditions allow, prescribed fire operations will begin again, requiring additional temporary closures.

Update 6/10/19 - Active firing operations have been completed, but there is still a lot of work to be done in the Boggy Draw area. Crews are actively patrolling the area for safety hazards. These hazards include “hazard trees” that may fall over the fire line or over a recreational trail. Firefighters are also checking for “stump holes” in the vicinity of public trails. These holes result from a stump that has burned away. Stepping into a stump hole, may result in burns, a sprained ankle, or even a broken leg.

After a prescribed fire has been completed, unlike a wildfire, left over burning fuels are permitted to continue to burn and smolder until the fuel has been consumed. This is part of the fuels treatment process. Therefore, smoke and heat will be present for several days or more after the operation is complete.

Once the fire area has been assessed and ruled safe for public re-entry, all trails within the fire perimeter will be opened for public access.


Update 6/9/19 PM - Boggy Draw Prescribed Burn operations have been completed! Crews had another excellent burn day in Dolores and accomplished the remaining 482 acres. After three days, this brings the total number of treated acres to 1,434. This portion of the project area was very successful with favorable weather conditions and excellent fuels consumption. This operation will help to ensure the health of the forest in the Boggy Draw area. It will also help to protect it from the possibility of extreme fire behavior in the future. We would like to thank the public for their patience and support as we worked diligently to complete this difficult work.

Update 6/9/19 AM - Prescribed fire operations continue near the Boggy Draw Trailhead today. Yesterday's operations successfully treated a total of 484 acres. This brings a total of 952 acres treated in two days. Due to favorable conditions, it is expected that firing operations will be completed today. Wind conditions throughout the day will be pushing smoke into the Dolores River valley. Expect to see an increase in smoke in low lying areas during daylight hours.

All roads and trails south of Road 527 remain closed. Those planning to visit the Boggy Draw area should expect these closures to remain in effect after firing operations are completed. Roads and trails will need to be assessed for hazards before they can be opened to public access. Closures will be lifted as soon as it is safe to do so.


Update 6/8/19 PM Prescribed fire operations taking place near Boggy Draw Trailhead on the Dolores Ranger District this weekend are being modified due to favorable weather conditions. Smoke dispersal is expected to worsen on Monday, June 10th. Acreage targeted for prescribed fire on Monday will be added to the firing operations spread out over Saturday and Sunday. This decision has been made to lessen the duration of smoke impacts on nearby communities.
The public may encounter closed areas that are not accurately represented on the posted closure maps. Please be flexible in your plans for recreating in this area, many opportunities are available nearby. We appreciate the public’s patience as we conduct as many hazardous fuels treatments as possible before the 2019 fire year intensifies. Here on the San Juan National Forest, we are committed to a balanced fire program that will reduce risks and realize benefits of fire.
Update 6/8/19 AM - After a very successful first day, Day 2 of prescribed fire operations near the Boggy Draw Trailhead will begin this morning. Please refer to the closure map of today's operation for road and trail closure information. The Maverick and Italian Canyon Trails will continue to be closed. Road 527 remains open. There will be visual smoke in the area. Those who live or are camping near the trailhead should expect smoke to settle overnight and then lift mid morning of the following day.
Update 6/7/19 – Fire crews successfully treated 468 acres of the Boggy Draw area on the Dolores Ranger District today with no issues or concerns!
850 acres was accomplished in the Brockover prescribed fire units on June 3-4 on the Pagosa Ranger District.
Years of research confirms that hazardous fuels reduction treatments result in better fire suppression outcomes and help firefighters in their response efforts. Assessments of more than 4,000 interactions between wildfires and treated areas since 2006 indicate that fuels treatments are effective in reducing fire behavior about 80 percent of the time.
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