Ponderosa pine and lower mixed conifer forests are adapted to and benefit from periodic, low intensity fires.
Prescribed burns conducted by fire managers reduce fuels on the ground and prune lower branches of trees. Burning provides for nutrient cycling, increases grass cover and induces re-sprouting of shrubs which improves browse and feed for wildlife and livestock. In general, burning promotes biological diversity and reduces the risk of severe wildfires.
Fire managers on the Pagosa Ranger District are planning to conduct several prescribed burns on Forest Service lands around Pagosa Springs.
A burn plan has been prepared for each area that describes specific weather, fuel moisture conditions and number and types of personnel needed to safely conduct the burn. Burn plans are prepared by qualified burn bosses and reviewed by higher level, experienced fire managers. Burn plans also specify wind and atmospheric conditions that will minimize smoke impacts to surrounding communities. All of these burns will be lit by crews on the ground.
All burns will occur between now and Nov. 15.
The prescribed burn areas are:
• Mesa Pedregosa (20 miles south of Pagosa Springs off Coyote Park Road).
• Burns Canyon (10 miles southwest of Pagosa Springs off Burns Canyon Road).
• Devil Creek/East Monument (10-15 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs).
• Horsefly (20 miles west of Pagosa Springs off of First Fork Road).
If you are planning to recreate or hunt in these areas, signs will be posted as you enter a prescribed burn area.
For additional information about the proposed burns or other fuels-reduction efforts, contact the Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268.