With recent timber projects at Monarch and elsewhere on the San Isabel National Forest, there have been several burn operations here locally. While Monarch is only burning some smaller slash piles in the Paradise lot, the USFS has several larger burn projects on the forest.
The Mount Shavano Prescribed Fire project includes burning 434 acres five to seven miles west-northwest of Poncha Springs, Colorado. The North Trout Creek Prescribed Fire project includes burning 917 acres approximately four miles east of Buena Vista, Colorado. “Using low-intensity and managed prescribed fire helps promote the health and diversity of different ecosystems,” said Acting Salida District Ranger Destiny Chapman. “Prescribed fire projects help reduce hazardous fuel build up on the landscape, which enhances public and firefighter safety.”
To facilitate burning, each of the selected areas have been prepared in advance to ensure safe fire operations. These prescribed burns will help reduce the heavy fuel loading that poses a safety threat to the recreating public and firefighters suppressing wildfires in the area. Ignitions will occur only when weather and fuel conditions meet established parameters and when smoke impacts can be managed within established requirements. Ignition and burning operations may continue for several days depending on the size of area being burned.
Monarch Mountain ended up with three piles of slash after the helicopter removal operations in September. These slash piles were then transported from the deck sites on the mountain to the upper (Paradise) lot. During the last round of snow, we met specified parameters within our USFS burn plan to ignite a few of these piles. Designated staff monitored and tended to the piles as they were consumed. There is one additional pile that will be addressed with more snow in the next few weeks.