Pile burning season to begin in Dillon Ranger District | SummitDaily.com

Pile burning season to begin in Dillon Ranger District

Slash piles burning on Swan Mountain in November 2018.
Courtesy Dillon Ranger District

FRISCO — Snow is on the ground around Summit County, and fire managers from the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit are hoping to take advantage.

The group is set to begin burning slash piles that built up following multiple fuels reduction and hazardous tree removal projects this year. The burning will take place at several locations around the Dillon and Eagle-Holy Cross ranger districts of the White River National Forest in Summit and Eagle counties.

Slash piles are created for burning in project areas where other means of disposal are not feasible due to steep slopes or a lack of access. Hazardous fuels reduction projects create fuel breaks that help reduce the risk of wildfire, while giving firefighters a safer place to defend homes and communities.

“Pile burning is often the last step in the process to completing these important fuels reduction projects,” forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said. “We recognize it can be inconvenient to see and smell smoke in the air; however, we need to continue to be focused and diligent about reducing hazardous fuels and protecting our communities during these limited burn-window opportunities.”

In the Summit County area, burn locations include Keystone Gulch, Middle Barton Trail and north of Tiger Road in Breckenridge. There will be additional burns at Copper Mountain Resort and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

According to the Dillon Ranger District, crews can burn anywhere from 10 to hundreds of piles per day. While there aren’t set dates or times, the prescribed burns will be ignited when fuel, weather and smoke dispersion conditions allow fire managers to burn in an effective and safe manner. Local residents and travelers throughout the area should expect to see smoke coming from the aforementioned areas during burns. Most of the smoke will dissipate during the day, though some nighttime smoke may remain in valley bottoms and drainages for a short duration.

Smoke from prescribed fires could affect the health of certain community members. For more information, visit colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.

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