Winter conditions mark start of pile burning season


As winter conditions settle in, the Sulphur Ranger District of the Arapaho National Forest will work to burn slash piles resulting from fuels reductions and hazardous tree removal projects in the area. Hand piles are a result of crews using chainsaws to thin the forest. Much of the smaller cut material is piled for burning. Machine piles are the result of using logging equipment and consist of primarily the limbs of trees as most of the logs have already been removed. Piles must be burned before the treatment is complete.

Last season, the Sulphur Ranger District accomplished more than 805 acres of pile burning, which included burning approximately 362 large machine piles and 684 smaller hand piles. This season’s pile burning could begin next week and will continue through the spring, as conditions allow.

Piles are only ignited under favorable weather conditions. Adequate snow cover, precipitation, wind, temperature, fuel moisture and staffing all play a part in when and whether ignition occurs. Piles that are ready for burning are prioritized based on elevation, aspect, access, and proximity to homes.

Smoke, flames and glowing embers are often visible and are part of normal operations. Snow helps contain the piles and firefighters monitor the area after burning is complete. Public and firefighter safety is always the number one priority in burning operations.

Areas on the Sulphur Ranger District with hand and machine piles ready for burning are:

Arrow Fuels: 2,500 hand piles and 15 machine piles; Potential impacts: Arrow Tunnel area, Corona Pass Rd. Lakota Trail Area, Winter Park Resort; General Location: East/Southeast of the Town of Winter Park. North/NE of Winter Park Resort and Lakota Subdivision.

Winter Park Fuels/Upper Fraser: 2,500 hand piles and 162 machine piles; Potential impacts Town of Winter Park, St. Louis Creek, Vasquez Creek Rd and Vasquez Creek area subdivisions, Elk Creek Road, Town of Fraser and Hwy 40 corridor general area; General Location: South and West of Winter Park, Southwest of Fraser.

Keyser Creek Fuels: 250 machine piles; Potential impacts: County Road 3, Church Park, and Forest Service roads 139, 140, 137, and 259. General location: north and south of Keyser Creek

Jericho RD Fuels: 700 hand piles; Potential impacts: Jericho Rd; General Location: Northwest of Kamloop Cove of Lake Granby or Granby Dam.

Trail Creek Fuels South: 450 hand piles Potential impacts: Chief Trail, Bussey Hill, Biscuit Row, Kessel Terrace, Panorama Ln, Peaks Point; General Location: South of Rainbow Bay of Lake Granby

Trail Creek Fuels North: Approx. 5200 hand piles; Potential impacts: County Rd 41, 42, 412, 413, 414, 415, Grouse Rd; General location: 2.5 miles Northwest of Fish Bay of Granby Lake.

ANRA/ Supply Creek Fuels/ Kauwuneeche Road South: 60 machine piles and 3,000 hand piles; Potential impacts: County Rd 4, Kauwuneeche Rd, 454 Rd, Meredith Manor, Areas west of Shadow Mtn Lake, Columbine Lake and Grand Lake; General Location: 1.5 miles west of Trail Ridge Marina of shadow Mtn Lake.

ANRA/Supply Creek Fuels/ Kauwuneeche Road North 45 machine piles and 1,000 hand pile; Potential impacts: Kauwuneeche Rd, Meredith Manor, Winding River Ranch, Sun Valley Ranch, Onahu Lodge, Areas North and West of Shadow Mtn Lake, Columbine Lake and Grand Lake; General Location: 1.5 miles Northwest of Columbine Lake, Supply Creek Trailhead area.

Willow Creek Fuels East: 2,300 hand piles; Potential impacts: Highway 125 or Willow Creek drainage General Location: .25 east of Highway 125, Forest Road 121, Kauffman Creek area

Pass Creek 308 machine piles Potential impacts: Elk Creek, Bronco Creek, Kauffman Creek and Denver Creek drainages. Vagabond Ranch; General Location: East of Highway 125 and West of Gravel and Little Gravel Mountains, along Forest Service roads 121, 123, and 190.

Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information see and-health. To check the latest updates on when burning will occur, follow us on Twitter and Facebook @ usfsarp. To get added to our email notification list, send an email to and ask to be added to the Sulphur Pile Burning list. For a complete list of where burning is occurring this season as well as updated accomplishments and photos, visit our Inciweb Page at incident/4648.