Pile burning to begin in Medicine Bow, Routt national forests
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The onset of snowy and colder weather conditions has allowed fire personnel on the Medicine Bow and Routt national forests in Colorado and Wyoming to begin preparation for annual slash pile burning.
Hundreds of piles are estimated to remain on the two national forests, even after many years of this type of work. The piles are typically a result of fuels-reduction projects.
Forest users and the public should be aware of and expect to see smoke, as many piles will be burned near communities, travel routes and popular recreation areas. The burning of highly visible piles will be advertised closer to the date of ignition and questions should be directed to local Ranger District offices.
In recent years, the two forests have completed many forest management projects, including removing dead trees from travel corridors and recreation areas as well as reducing hazardous fuels generated from the bark beetle epidemic. Fuels remaining in these areas have been gathered into piles, either mechanically or by hand. The main objective of the pile burns is to reduce the remaining dead fuels, which is in the best interest of long-term public safety.
Fire managers will monitor weather forecasts prior to igniting piles. Burns are only initiated if conditions are within established parameters for safe, effective fires. Pile burning will take place during fall and winter, as long as weather permits access.
Signs are often placed on adjacent roads notifying the public of the prescribed fires, and closures are rarely necessary.