The reduction of hazardous fuels is a significant preventative management tool used in preparation for managing wildfire near structures and communities. As seen with the Fern Lake Fire, previous reduction of hazardous fuels aided firefighters in stopping the fire within the park when it made its more than 3 mile run on the morning of December 1, 2012. Ultimately, these projects are done to protect life and property and enhance the safety of firefighters and their ability to manage fire within the park.
Fire Management staff at Rocky Mountain National Park are nearing completion of the 150 acre Eagle Cliff fuels reduction project and will start work on four more fuels reduction projects later this year. The upcoming projects include 40 acres in the Sprague Lake area, 40 acres around Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge parking, 210 acres in between Mills Creek and Glacier Creek, and up to 900 acres around the base of Deer Mountain.
Work will include removing dead trees, the lower limbs of remaining trees, ladder fuels, dead and down logs, and the removal of select trees adjacent to infrastructure. Resulting woody materials will be piled on site and burned in the following winters or may be used for firewood permits depending on location.
These projects are not designed as a stand-alone defense against wildfires, nor are they guaranteed to hold wildfire in the worst conditions. Please do your part and complete wildfire mitigation on your property. For more information on Firewise standards visit www.firewise.org.