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2020-21 Royal Gorge FO Pile Burns

Unit Information

BLM Rocky Mountain District Fire
3028 East Main Street
Canon City, CO 81212

Incident Contacts

BLM Rocky Mountain District Fire Info Office
Email: beporter@blm.gov
Phone: 719-315-0690

John Markalunas, Assistant Fire Management Officer
Phone: 719-852-8160

Burning piles of brush amid a pinyon forest. The ground is covered with snow around the piles and two drip torches used to light the piles are sitting in the foreground.. Image options: [ Full Size ]

Updates on current pile burn activities:

January 22, 4:00 p.m.:
Crews successfully concluded their third day of burning at the Mt. Shavano location northwest of Poncha Springs and 7 miles west of Salida. Approximately 900 piles were burned over the course of three days. There will be no burning over the weekend. Approximately 800 piles remain at this location that crews will burn when conditions allow in the coming weeks. Light smoke may be visible from still-smoldering piles. Firefighters will be periodically checking on last week's burned piles over the weekend. 

January 22, 10:00 a.m.:
Rocky Mountain District Fire staff are expecting favorable smoke dispersion conditions today, which will allow a third day of burning on the Mt. Shavano pile burn. Smoke will again be visible from US Highway 285, US Highway 50, and Salida through the day.

January 21, 3:00 p.m.:
Crews were successful in burning approximately 300 piles again today. If conditions are favorable, crews are planning to burn at this location tomorrow.  

January 21, 2021, 10:30 a.m.:
Rocky Mountain District Fire staff are expecting to smoke dispersion conditions to improve today, allowing continued work on the Mt. Shavano pile burn. Smoke will again be visible from US Highway 285, US Highway 50, and Salida through the day.

January 20, 2021, 3:00 p.m.:
Crews have completed ignitions on 300 piles over 45 acres at the Mt. Shavano pile burn today. Firefighters will remain on scene to monitor piles through the afternoon. Smoke will remain visible as the piles continue to smolder. With cooler temperatures in the evening, smoke may accumulate in low-lying areas. If conditions are favorable, crews are planning to burn at this location tomorrow.  

January 20, 2021, 11:33 a.m.:

Crews have successfully burned a test pile to ground truth conditions and will be continuing with ignitions. Smoke will be visible from US Highway 285, US Highway 50, and Salida through the day today.
 
 

January 19, 2021:

BLM-Rocky Mountain District Fire will be conducting the Mt. Shavano pile burn in Chaffee County on Wednesday January 20 and Thursday January 21. The project area is located northwest of Poncha Springs, 7 miles west of Salida. This burn will eliminate piled and cured fuels left from past fuels reduction projects. This operation was postponed from last week due to high winds over the project area. Crews will be burning 500 piles over approximately 138 acres. 

If conditions are favorable, crews are expected to begin ignitions on the morning of Wednesday, January 20 continuing until approximately 3:00 p.m. If conditions remain favorable, crews will also burn in this location on Thursday, January 21. There is currently approximately one foot or more of snow on the ground throughout the project area. 

Smoke will be visible from US Highway 285, US Highway 50, and Salida through the days of the burn. Personnel will be on scene conducting ignitions and monitoring the piles through the days. With cooler temperatures in the evening, smoke may accumulate in low-lying areas.

For more information on this or other prescribed burns on BLM Royal Gorge Field Office lands, please bookmark this Inciweb page or visit the BLM Colorado Fire Facebook page, @BLMColoradoFire


January 14, 2021:

Today’s pile burn near Mt. Shavano in Chaffee County has been postponed. Winds in the project area are stronger than were initially predicted. Crews will look for favorable conditions to conduct the burn next week. Please check back to this page or to the BLM Colorado Fire Facebook page for updates.

January 12, 2021:

BLM-Rocky Mountain District Fire is planning to conduct the Mt. Shavano pile burn later this week on January 14 and 15. The project area is located northwest of Poncha Springs, 7 miles west of Salida. This burn will eliminate piled cured fuels left from past fuels reduction projects. Crews will be burning 500 piles over approximately 138 acres. 

Crews are expected to begin the burn on the morning of Thursday, January 14, and continue ignitions into the afternoon. If conditions are favorable, crews will continue the operation on Friday, January 15. There is currently approximately one foot or more of snow on the ground throughout the project area. 

Smoke will be visible through the days of the burn. Personnel will be on scene conducting ignitions and monitoring the piles through the days. With cooler temperatures in the evening, smoke may accumulate in low-lying areas.  

For more information on this or other prescribed burns on BLM Royal Gorge Field Office lands, please bookmark this Inciweb page or visit the BLM Colorado Fire Facebook page, @BLMColoradoFire

Please see the news release below, distributed in November 2020, for further information on BLM prescribed fire and fuels reduction efforts for the winter 2020-2021. 


November 12, 2020 News Release

Bureau of Land Management plans fall-winter pile burns in Chaffee, Custer, and Fremont counties 
The Bureau of Land Management Rocky Mountain District Fire and Aviation Management Unit is preparing to conduct pile burns in nine locations this winter on Royal Gorge Field Office-managed lands in Chaffee, Fremont, and Custer counties. 
 
The objective of the pile burns is to remove the slash left behind from timber harvests and previous fuels treatments. Timber harvests and fuels treatments remove beetle-killed timber and other fuels, reducing the risk of future catastrophic wildfires. They also help create various stages of plant succession, which is critical to the health of fire-adapted ecosystems. These burns will remove the leftover piled fuels but may burn some nearby live vegetation in in the project area, as well. The locations of these pile burn projects for winter 2020-2021 are as follows: 

  • Hole in the Rock: 2,400 hand-built piles among Ponderosa Pine, Piñon Pine, Juniper and Gambel Oak. The project area is located north of Cañon City, off Fremont County Road 11 and east of the High Park Subdivision.
  • Whiskey: 3,000 large hand-built piles among Ponderosa Pine, Piñon Pine, Juniper, and grass. The project area is located 6.5 miles southwest of Cripple Creek, south of Fremont County Road 11 and west of the High Park Subdivision.
  • Likely Gulch: 2,000 hand-built piles among Piñon Pine, Juniper and Ponderosa Pine. The project area is located south of Texas Creek off CO Highway 69 and Road Gulch.
  • Mt. Harvard Estates: 1,250 hand-built piles among Piñon Pine, Juniper and grass. The project area is located 5.5 miles north of Buena Vista, CO, ½ mile east of US 24, and immediately north and east of the Mt. Harvard Estates subdivision.
  • Tyndall: Three machine-built piles among Ponderosa Pine and grass. The project area is located 3 miles north of Rosita, 7.5 miles east of Westcliffe and south of CO Highway 96, near Mount Tyndall.
  • Pinyon Mountain: 450 hand-built piles among Piñon Pine, Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, and Douglas Fir. The project area is located south of the Acres of Ireland subdivision, ¾ mile south of US 50, and 1.5 miles south of Howard, CO.
  • Kerr Gulch: 250 hand-built piles among Piñon Pine, Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, and Douglas Fir.  The project area is located 1.5 miles west of US 50, 3 miles northwest of the Coaldale, CO.
  • Thompson Mountain: 35 machine-built piles among Ponderosa Pine, Piñon Pine, Juniper, and Gambel Oak. The project area is located 13 miles northwest of Cañon City, 2 miles east of CO Highway 9, and in the Deer Haven area near Thompson Mountain.
  • Mount Shavano: 500 hand-built piles among Piñon Pine, Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, and Douglas Fir. The project area is located 3.5 miles north of US 50, 3.5 miles west of US 285, and 5.5 miles northwest of Poncha Springs, CO.


Smoke from the pile burns will be visible throughout the day of the burn, mostly during the warmest part of the day. With cooler temperatures in the evening, smoke may accumulate in low-lying areas. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information on wildland fire smoke, please visit the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division’s website: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health

Information on Royal Gorge Field Office winter 2020-2021 pile burns will be available on Inciweb (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/)  or on Facebook at @BLMColoradoFire as conditions become favorable to conduct these burns. For additional information, please contact Matt Norden, Fire Operations Specialist, at (719) 269-8583, or John Markalunas, Assistant Fire Management Officer, at (719) 852-8160.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypePrescribed Fire
Incident Description2020-2021 Royal Gorge Field Office Pile Burns In Fremont, Chaffee, And Custer Counties.
Coordinates38.445 latitude, -105.196 longitude