The Pagosa Ranger District is planning to conduct several prescribed burns on U.S. Forest Service lands near Pagosa Springs.
The burn units are located in the Turkey Springs/Brockover Mesa, Fawn Gulch and Mill Creek areas.
The burn units northwest of town are within the Brockover I and II, Turkey Springs Piles and Devil Creek II burn plans. They are near the forest service roads into Turkey Springs, as well as the East Monument, Brockover and Newt Jack roads.
The Fawn Gulch burn units are near Archuleta County Road 113/FSR 666.
Mill Creek burn units are next to Mill Creek Road (Archuleta County Road 302), Nipple Mountain Road (FSR 665) and Echo Canyon Road (FSR 029).
The units vary in size from 100 to 500 acres.
Ignition can start over the several days, beginning in mid-September and continuing through early November. The actual dates of the prescribed burns will be dependent on weather and fuel conditions.
The forest in these areas consist of ponderosa pine, gambel oak, grass and a small area of logging slash. All of the units have already undergone fuel reduction projects, including mowing of shrubs and small trees, thinning, as well as timber harvest.
The Turkey Springs/Brockover Mesa project expands upon prescribed burns which took place in August and September of 2016. It is part of an overall fuels reduction project involving both mechanical treatment and prescribed fire covering approximately 5,000 acres. The Fawn Gulch units were mowed in 2017.
Burning operations will be conducted by district personnel and other fire resources from the Forest Service and cooperating agencies. The purpose is to reduce hazardous ground fuels, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, restore ponderosa pine ecosystems and improve wildlife habitat.
Ponderosa pine forests are a fire-adapted ecosystem, which historically experienced frequent, low intensity fires on a large scale.
Prescribed fires replicate those fires under controlled conditions. Prescribed fires will only be ignited when all weather, fuels and smoke requirements are met.
Prescribed fire smoke may affect the health of residents near the burns. For more information, go to:https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health
For additional information, contact Fred Ellis, assistant fire management officer in the Pagosa Ranger District at (970) 264-1541.