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 have completed 75 acres of cutting and stacking on the Mill Creek to Glacier Creek Fuels Reduction Project this summer. These piles are scheduled to be burned this winter as conditions allow. Work will continue on this project through the fall and into next summer with an additional 123 acres remaining to be completed on this project. Last fall, 229 acres of cutting and stacking was completed on the Deer Mountain Fuels Reduction Project near Deer Junction. These piles are also scheduled to be burned this winter as conditions allow.
An additional 368 acres along the park boundary north and east of Deer Mountain are scheduled to be cut and stacked starting this fall and completed next summer. Other upcoming manual fuels reduction projects include; 40 acres in the Sprague Lake area, and 40 acres around Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge parking.
Work will include removing dead trees, the lower limbs of remaining trees, ladder fuels, dead and down logs, and the removal of selected trees to increase canopy spacing. Resulting woody materials will be piled on site and burned in the following winters or may be used next year or in upcoming years 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.