San Juan National Forest’s Dolores and Pagosa ranger districts will conduct prescribed fires beginning next week.
Burning operations will take place over several days when weather and fuel conditions are favorable and may continue into the fall season based on conditions.
Both hand and aerial ignition methods may be used, based on weather, fuel and smoke parameters in the prescribed fire plan.
Operations will be conducted by Forest Service personnel with assistance from cooperating agencies.
Reintroduction of prescribed fire improves and restores vegetative conditions. This effort will reduce hazardous ground fuels, lessen the risk of unplanned large wildfire and help improve ponderosa pine stands and wildlife habitats.
Areas in the Dolores Ranger District that will be targeted for this round of prescribed fires include:
Haycamp Mesa, 10 miles east of Dolores along Haycamp Mesa Road.Boggy Draw, 3 to 15 miles northeast of Dolores.Salter, 7 to 15 miles east of Cahone.Targeted locations in the Pagosa Ranger District include the area between Newt Jack Road and Catamount Trail and the area between Turkey Springs Road, south of Brockover Road, and Gopher Trail.
Forest visitors should use caution on the trails after burn operations are completed.
During burning operations in Dolores, smoke may be visible in Mancos, Dolores, Dove Creek, Cortez and from U.S. Highway 491 between Dove Creek and Pleasant View. At night, smoke may settle into low lying valleys and the Dolores River.
During burning operations in Pagosa, smoke may be visible from Pagosa Springs on U.S. Highway 160 and in the Chimney Rock area.
At night, smoke may settle into low lying valleys, Devil Creek and Martinez Canyon. Smoke monitoring will be conducted, and ignitions will be scheduled to minimize smoke impacts to communities.
People who are likely to be affected by smoke are advised to limit their time outdoors and filter air through the use of air-filtration systems when indoors or the use of a mask when outdoors.