By Cam Hooley
Special to The SUN
The Pagosa Ranger District is planning to burn approximately 400 acres in the Turkey Springs/Brockover Mesa areas northwest of Pagosa Springs.
Operations were expected to begin this week, with actual dates of operations dependent upon weather and fuels conditions.
Burn units are located adjacent to the Turkey Springs (FSR Road 629), East Monument (FSR 630) and Brockover (FSR 919) roads and Gopher Trail (Trail No. 303). Another 100 acres of burn units are located adjacent to the First Fork Road (FSR 622) between Pagosa and Bayfield.
Ignition operations may take place over several days. Burning operations will be conducted by district personnel and other fire resources from the San Juan National Forest and cooperating agencies.
The purpose is to reduce hazardous ground fuels, reduce the risk of unplanned catastrophic wildfire, restore ponderosa pine ecosystems and improve wildlife habitat.
The forest consists of ponderosa pine, Gambel oak and grass. The units have received previous fuels-reduction treatments. The Turkey Springs/Brockover Mesa project expands upon prescribed burns which took place in the fall of 2016, and is part of an overall fuels-reduction project involving both mechanical treatment and prescribed fire covering approximately 5,000 acres.
Ponderosa pine forests are a fire-adapted ecosystem, which historically experienced frequent, low-intensity fires on a large scale. Prescribed fire replicates that fire regime under controlled conditions. Prescribed fires will only be ignited when all weather, fuels and smoke requirements are met.
For additional information, please contact Fred Ellis, assistant fire management officer (fuels) for the Pagosa Ranger District, at 264-1541.
Smoke from wildfires and prescribed fires may affect your health. For more information, please go to www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
For information on prescribed burning on the San Juan National Forest, call 247-4874 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan/, or follow us at: https://twitter.com/SanJuanNF.