Magic Feather Prescribed Burn Could Begin in Coming Weeks

A crew member works to burn slash piles resulting from fuels reduction projects within the Elkhorn Creek area of the Roosevelt National Forest. The NCFC will implement fuel reduction treatments and prescribed fire to help make forests more resilient, to protect communities and keep precious water supplies reliable. Photo credits - Evan Barrientos.

Firefighters in the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest are closely monitoring local conditions to begin prescribed fire operations in late fall/early winter on the Magic Feather Prescribed Burn near Red Feather Lakes.

Burning last occurred on this project in December 2021. Timing of this burning is meant to take advantage of conditions that allow fire to carry throughout the burn units to meet the burn objectives to reduce hazardous fuels. Burning could happen throughout the coming months if conditions allow.

This burn is located east and southeast of Red Feather Lakes. Burning operations could include two units totaling approximately 530 acres, located north of County Road 74E (Red Feather Lakes Road). Work has already taken place in the area to prepare for ignitions, including tree cutting around the perimeter and within the interior of the project.

Appropriate, localized conditions must be met before the ignition of prescribed burns can take place. Fire managers have been carefully monitoring these conditions, including favorable weather forecasts (temperature, wind, precipitation, relative humidity), fuel moisture, smoke dispersal, and staffing. Weather is monitored throughout the burn and burning is halted if conditions fall outside of the required conditions.

People in the area should expect to see smoke when operations are taking place. The Mount Margaret Trail system will be closed during operations. Please follow all signage. Smoke may also impact those using the Dowdy Lake Campgrounds and Day-Use Area. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. More information about smoke impacts is available at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.

Even with the most thorough planning and preparation, the use of prescribed fire carries an innate level of risk that cannot be eliminated entirely. However, prescribed fire is one of the most efficient ways of reducing wildfire risk. Regularly conducting prescribed fires, which mimic nature, reduces the buildup of flammable vegetation and overgrowth.

The USDA Forest Service recently completed a 90-day nationwide operational pause and program review of protocols, decision support tools, and practices related to the implementation of prescribed fire. This pause allowed time to identify and immediately implement program improvements to ensure firefighters have the resources, tools, and support needed to safely carry out this important work. The lessons learned, driven by the best available science, have been incorporated into the Magic Feather Burn Plan.

To receive email notifications when burning begins in this area, please send an email to reghan.cloudman@usda.gov with the subject line “Magic Feather.” Information will be available on inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/coarf-magic-feather-prescribed-burn as the project is implemented.

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