SAN JUAN NATIONAL FOREST
15 Burnett Court
Durango, Colorado 81301
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2016
AERIAL IGNITIONS TO BEGIN ON PARGIN PRESCRIBED BURN (see attached map)
BAYFIELD – Plans are for aerial ignition of the interior of the Pargin Prescribed Burn to begin as soon as tomorrow, Thursday, September 15th in the HD Mountains south of U.S. Highway 160 between Bayfield and Pagosa Springs. A helicopter will be used for three days to ignite a total of 4,500 acres, depending on weather and fuel conditions. Aerial ignitions will not continue past Sunday, September 18th. Ignitions will cease by 2 p.m. each day of the operation. Up to 100 U.S. Forest Service firefighters will patrol and monitor the 19-mile perimeter of the burn area. No National Forest road or trail closures are expected.
A well-defined smoke column is expected to be very visible from Arboles, Ignacio, Bayfield, Pagosa Springs and Durango, and from along the U.S. Highway 160 corridor. Daytime smoke may also spread northeast into the upper Piedra Drainage or north into Hinsdale County. The smoke column resulting from aerial ignitions will be more visible from surrounding areas than what was seen during the ground operations last week. Nighttime smoke is expected to settle in the Beaver Creek and Sauls Creek areas, and along the Piedra River from Chimney Rock to Arboles. Visibility between Yellow Jacket Pass and the Piedra River along US 160 will also be impacted, and electronic signs are posted on the highway to notify travelers. Smoke will linger into mornings in these areas but should lift by mid-day.
The goal is to use prescribed fire in this area to reduce the risk of high-intensity wildfire, improve forest health and big-game habitat, and provide conditions for regular follow-up burns to be conducted efficiently and safely. The USFS works closely with the State of Colorado to plan prescribed burns and to monitor and manage the impacts of resulting smoke.
For more information, contact the Columbine District Office at 970 884-2512, or go online at: http://fs.usda.gov/sanjuan.
Daily updates will also be posted at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov and on Twitter @SanJuanNF.
Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, go to: www.colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
Ann H. Bond
PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST
San Juan National Forest
15 Burnett Court
Durango, CO 81301
(work) 970 385-1219
(cell) 970 799-1210