Fire managers at Rocky Mountain National Park plan to take advantage of potential upcoming winter weather conditions to burn piles of slash. Approximately 1,500 piles are from several hazard fuels and hazard tree mitigation projects on the east side of the park. Slash has been cut and piled by park fire crews and contractors during the last two years. Nearly 6,000 piles were burned throughout the park last year.
When fighting the Fern Lake Fire, firefighters were able to take advantage of previous and existing prescribed fire and hazardous fuels treatment areas that provided a buffer between the fire and Estes Park. Prior hazard fuels projects were instrumental in stopping the fire from jumping Bear Lake Road. Because of the reduced fuel loading in those treated areas and the fire lines that had already been created in some locations, firefighters had confidence they could directly, and safely, attack the fire in places like the Upper Beaver Meadows area if the fire had moved there.
Pile burning operations will only begin when conditions allow. The piles are located in a variety of locations on the east side of the park including south of Lily Lake and the Twin Sisters Trailhead, near the Fall River entrance, the north slopes of Deer Mountain, east of Glacier Basin Campground, upper Bear Lake Road Corridor, Highway 34 below Deer Ridge Junction to Horseshoe Park and along Trail Ridge Road above Deer Ridge Junction to Hidden Valley.
Safety factors, weather conditions, air quality and environmental regulations are continually monitored as a part of any fire management operation. For more information please contact the park's Information Office at 970-586-1206.