Winter conditions mark start of pile burning season in Boulder foothills
Incident: Prescribed Fire Pile Burning 2017/2018 Prescribed Fire
BOULDER, Colo. (Nov. 30, 2015) – As winter conditions settle in, the Boulder and Clear Creek Ranger Districts of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests will work to burn slash piles resulting from fuels reductions and hazardous tree removal projects in the area.
Hand piles are a result of crews using chainsaws and to thin the forest, the subsequent cut material is piled for burning. Machine piles are the result of using logging equipment and consist of primarily the limbs of trees as most of the logs have already been removed. These piles must be burned before the treatment is complete.
Some pile burning could occur in early December, but the bulk of pile burning will occur between the New Year and early April, as conditions allow. Piles are only ignited under favorable weather, snow cover, and conditions conducive for good smoke dispersal, such as wind and temperature. Firefighters monitor the area after burning is complete. Public and firefighter safety is always the number one priority in burning operations.
Crews may begin burning as many as 450 smaller piles a day at each location if favorable conditions are met, which includes a minimum of 3 inches of snow cover, or up to 40 large machine piles at each location per day with a minimum of 6 inches of snow cover.
Piles that have cured and are ready for burning are prioritized based on elevation, aspect, access, and proximity to homes. Last season, these two districts burned a total of 90 machine piles and 3,700 hand piles for a total of 665 acres.
Areas on the Boulder Ranger District with hand and machine piles ready for burning are:· Forsythe Project surrounding Gross Reservoir and along Magnolia Road;· Sugarloaf Project near the communities of Sunset, Silver Springs and Swiss Peaks Subdivision;· Saint Vrain Project near the communities of Allen’s Park, Big Elk Meadows, and in the vicinity of Button Rock Reservoir;· Winniger Project 4 miles east of the community of Nederland;· Lump Gulch Projects south of Nederland; and, · James Creek Project near the communities of Jamestown, Gold Hill, Ward and Bar K subdivision and Gold Lake Ranch.
Areas on the Clear Creek Ranger District with hand piles ready for burning are:• The Yankee Hill Project near Central City and Black Hawk.
Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information see https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
If you would like to receive regular updates about pile burning in your area, send an email to BRDvis@fs.fed.us.