The Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland took full advantage of snow conditions this winter to burn 13,614 slash piles left from multiple fuels reductions and hazardous tree removal projects. More than 200 of these were large machine piles.
Dedicated fuels implementation and wildland fire staff successfully conducted these pile burns under detailed conditions laid out in a burn plan. These burns are also done under a smoke permit from the State of Colorado Air Pollution Control Division. Conditions are evaluated each day of a potential pile burn and include weather, smoke dispersal, staffing and snow cover. Crews also conduct a test burn to ensure conditions are adequate.
Crews burned as many as 250 to 1,000 smaller hand piles a day at each burn location when conditions were met, which includes a minimum of three inches of snow cover. Some areas of the district also had larger machine piles. Typically, one to 40 of these were burned at each location a day with a minimum of six inches of snow cover.
These piles account for all the district had planned for the 2014-2015 season. Additional piles could be burned if they have cured adequately. It takes about one year for wood to cure enough to burn efficiently. Crews will also be out monitoring areas previously burned confirming they are secure.
The district regularly updates a recorded phone line with pile burning information at 970-498-1030. For those wanting regular updates, individuals can get on an email list for the areas of interest to them by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.