30 slash piles burn in Sauls Creek area

Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 3:09 AM
Large slash piles similar to this one will be ignited this week in the Sauls Creek area, among other San Juan National Forest areas in the region. These piles were gathered this summer as part of tree-thinning efforts to reduce wildfires.

Prescribed burns of slash piles have begun throughout the San Juan National Forest as the season's first snows mark the most favorable time for the reduction of forest fire fuels.

On Monday, forest officials began burning 30 slash piles in the Sauls Creek area, east of Bayfield. Spokeswoman Ann Bond said the burning should last a few days, and won't affect road or forest access.

"It's a pretty remote area," she said. "It's just on some secondary Forest Service roads, and not near any neighborhoods."

Bond said Forest Service officials typically plan slash pile burnings right after the season's first snows, mostly for safety reasons. Although firefighters monitor the controlled burn, snow on the ground makes the fire even more contained, she said.

From now until the end of December, crews will also burn piles in Pagosa near the Porcupine Road and Four Miles areas. In Dolores, burns will occur at Haycamp Mesa, Chicken Creek, Turkey Knoll, Rock Springs, Upper Lost Canyon and McPhee Park. There will also be burnings east of Bayfield near Yellow Jacket.