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Prescribed burning planned this spring on the Pagosa District

By Ann Bond
Special to The SUN

Fire managers at the Pagosa Ranger District are planning to conduct two prescribed burns on National Forest Lands during the spring.

The goals of these treatments are to reintroduce the role of fire to fire-dependent ecosystems, reduce ground fuels, prune lower branches of trees, provide for nutrient cycling, encourage biological diversity and promote the growth of browse for wildlife and livestock.

Locations identified for burning include:

• Chimney Rock Prescribed Burn — Located 17 miles southwest of Pagosa Springs in Archuleta County on the south side of Chimney Rock National Monument.  Smoke will be visible from U.S. 160, Colo. 151, Arboles, Aspen Springs and Elk Park subdivisions. A maximum of 342 acres could be burned.  Burning is expected to be completed prior to the seasonal opening of the Monument.

• Brockover Prescribed Burn — Located in the Turkey Springs area, 10 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs between the Turkey Springs Road (FSR 629) and the Newt Jack Road (FSR 923). Smoke will be visible from U.S. 160, Piedra Road, Pagosa Lakes, most of Archuleta County, and southern Hinsdale County near the Sportsman’s Store community. Some nighttime smoke may settle in Hatcher Lake subdivision or Pagosa Highlands in Pagosa Lakes and also into Martinez Canyon.  A maximum of 500 acres could be burned.

These burns will be lit by crews on the ground.

Burns could take place the end of March into April. Fire managers plan the burning to occur when it will have the least smoke impact on communities; however, because of predominant westerly winds, some of the smoke will drift into neighborhoods and communities. Burns are conducted under specified conditions, generally when it is cooler in the spring or fall. Besides helping to restore ecosystem health, the burns reduce the risk of severe wildfire.

For additional information about the proposed burns or other fuels-reduction efforts, visit the Pagosa Ranger District at 180 Pagosa St. or call 264-2268.

This story was posted on March 21, 2013.