COLORADO SPRINGS — As part of the ongoing hazardous fuels reduction project, the Pikes Peak Ranger District will begin conducting pile burns on National Forest System lands in El Paso and Teller Counties, beginning in December of 2021 and continuing through spring of 2022.

The names and locations of the pile burns on the Pikes Peak Ranger District are as follows:

  • Phantom 4 and Broken Wheel – several locations north of Divide along County Road 51 and along the 717 trails between the Phantom Creek trailhead and Forest Service Road 355.
  • 331 – the north-northeast side of Pikes Peak along Pikes Peak Highway near Crowe Gulch trailhead off Forest Service Road 331.
  • Painted Rocks – north of Woodland Park near Highway 67, just off Painted Rocks Road (County Road 78).
  • Skelton – west of Woodland Park on Highway 24 near Charis Bible College on County Road 25.
  • Monument Fire Center – west of the town of Monument at the Monument Fire Center.
  • Mothball, Ensign Gulch, Carrol Lakes, Rainbow Gulch and Woodland Park Work Center – east of Woodland Park off Rampart Range Road between Forest Service Roads 315 and 306.

“These pile burns help to improve the health of the forest,” said Pikes Peak District Ranger Oscar Martinez. “The piles are a result of tree thinning operations designed to reduce dead wood and remove unhealthy overcrowded trees that contribute to high-intensity wildfires.”

To facilitate burning, each area has been prepared in advance to ensure safe fire operations. The piles in the areas consist of small trees, treetops and limbs, all cut and piled during ongoing projects to reduce hazardous fuels around recreation areas, reservoirs and private property.

These prescribed burns will help improve forest health as well as reduce the heavy fuel loading that poses a safety threat to firefighters suppressing wildfires. 

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. Once burning begins, expect smoke to be visible from Woodland Park, Colo. and Monument.

For more information on smoke and health, click here.

Follow @PSICC_NF on Twitter for up-to-date information on this and other topics. Use #PikesPeakRD for Pikes Peak Ranger District prescribed fire information and notification of when burns will take place.

For more fire information resources, please visit the Pikes Peak Ranger District website.