Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As part of ongoing hazardous fuels reduction and timber sale projects, the San Carlos Ranger District will conduct pile burns on National Forest System lands in Custer, Huerfano, and Pueblo Counties, beginning in December 2021, and continuing through March 2022, conditions permitting.

Planned prescribed burns can reduce the risks of wildfires. Image: Unsplash/Colter Olmstead.

The names and locations of the pile burns on the San Carlos Ranger District are as follows:

  • 12-Mile – in Custer and Pueblo Counties in the vicinity of San Isabel, Colorado, near State Highways 78 and 165.
  • Black Mountain – in Huerfano County approximately 10 miles north of Gardner, Colorado, near the intersections of Forest Service Roads 630 and 634, as well as the intersection of Pole Creek Trailhead and Forest Road 630.
  • Cuchara – in Huerfano County approximately two miles southwest of Cuchara, Colorado, adjacent to the Panadero Subdivision and north of the Spring Creek Trailhead.
  • Greenhorn – in Custer and Huerfano Counties along the crest of the Wet Mountains, near Forest Service Roads 401 and 369.

“Fall and winter bring cooler temperatures and precipitation, which are favorable conditions for pile burning, as we use the snow cover to limit fire spread,” said San Carlos District Ranger Destiny Chapman.

To facilitate burning, each of the selected areas have been prepared in advance to ensure safe fire operations. The piles in the areas consist of small trees as well as treetops and limbs cut and piled during hazardous fuel management and timber sale projects. These prescribed burns will help reduce the heavy fuel loading that poses a safety threat to firefighters suppressing wildfires and the recreating public in the area.

Ignitions will occur only when weather and fuel conditions meet prescriptive parameters and when smoke impacts can be managed within established requirements.  Ignition and burning operations may continue for several days depending on the number of piles being burned. Fire personnel will monitor the burns until the fires are completely out.

Smoke is a natural byproduct of fire and some amounts are unavoidable. However, fire managers and prescribed fire specialists look carefully at the proximity of communities and determine the least amount of smoke impact to the public during prescribed burning. Expect smoke to be visible throughout the Wet Mountain Valley as well as Custer, Fremont, Huerfano and Pueblo Counties once the burns begin. Smoke may also linger over the burn areas for a few days following initial ignitions. For more information on smoke, please visit:

Follow @PSICC_NF on Twitter for up-to-date information on this and other topics. Use #12-MileRX, #BlkMtnRX, and #CucharaRX, #GreenhornRX and #SanCarlosRD for San Carlos Ranger District prescribed fire information and notification of when burns will take place. For more fire information resources, please visit our website.