SAN JUAN NATIONAL FOREST
15 Burnett Court
Durango, Colorado 81301
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 8, 2016
FIREFIGHTERS BEGIN BLACK-LINING PERIMETER OF PARGIN PRESCRIBED BURN
BAYFIELD – U.S. Forest Service firefighting crews will begin black-lining the perimeter of the Pargin Prescribed Burn this morning in the HD Mountains south of U.S. Highway 160. Prescribed burning operations will be conducted for one to two weeks, with exact timing dependent on weather and fuel conditions. The goal is to treat 6,000 acres of National Forest lands with prescribed fire 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. Starting today, ground crews will use hand torches to create a buffer around the 20-mile perimeter of the burn area, with no more than 400 acres ignited per day. Next week, aerial ignitions will use a helicopter to ignite up to 4,500 acres per day of the interior of the burn area. No National Forest road or trail closures are expected.
A smoke column will be visible from Arboles, Ignacio, Bayfield, Pagosa Springs and Durango, and from the U.S. Highway 160 corridor. Daytime smoke may also spread northeast into the upper Piedra Drainage or north into Hinsdale County. 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. Electronic signs are posted along Highway 160 to notify travelers of the possibility of limited visibility. Smoke will linger into mornings in these areas but should lift by mid-day.
Since 2013, the Columbine Ranger District has treated 5,000 acres in this general area through prescribed fire. 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.
Updates will also be posted at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5007/ and on Twitter @SanJuanNF.
Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, go to: www.colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health