See Marshall Fire Recovery for information and resources on the Marshall Fire.
Prescribed Burns
Prescribed burn

Prescribed Burn Projects

Parks & Open Space and the Sheriff’s Office Wildland Fire Management Program plan to conduct prescribed burns this fall.

Hall Ranch: Nelson Loop

Parks & Open Space and the Sheriff’s Office Fire Management Program conducted a prescribed burn west of Lyons at Hall Ranch on Tuesday, Nov. 9. Smoke and flames may be visible for up to 72 hours. There may be heavy smoke in the air. Please do not call 911 since a controlled burn is not an emergency. The areas will be monitored to ensure fires are completely out.

Fire crews blacklined 27 acres in the Nelson Loop project area in preparation for a larger scale burn planned for the same area in the winter of 2022. Blacklining is a firefighting tactic that preburns fuel adjacent to containment lines such as roads and trails.

If conditions allow, additional prescribed fire may occur until the end of the current burn window on Nov. 19. Another burn window for this unit will occur from Jan. 10 – April 10, 2022.

  • Up to 338 acres in the Nelson Loop project area.
  • Hall Ranch will be closed during ignition days and will reopen when deemed safe.
  • This is part of a 5-year project to treat 853 acres, with a goal of burning up to 350 acres per year.
  • Prescribed Burn Map


For additional information, contact Parks & Open Space Senior Forester Stefan Reinold or call 303-678-6202.

Email Notifications

If you would like to be notified of upcoming prescribed burns, please send an email to with “Sign Up” in the subject line.

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Notification & Updates

Public notification of the burns and corresponding park closures will be released 48 hours prior to ignition. Updates will be sent out as conditions warrant.

To receive email notifications, please contact

Updates will be also be posted on Twitter and Facebook.


Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Wildland Fire Management, along with numerous local and federal fire departments, will be conducting the burns. The project areas are well contained by trails and roads, and fire hoses and fire engines will completely surround the area during the duration of the burns. Firefighting resources will remain on site until the fire is confirmed as being controlled by significant weather conditions or determined to be out.

Conditions & Weather

To determine if conditions are suitable for ignitions, fire managers assess fuel moisture levels and continuously monitor current and projected weather forecasts. Weather considerations include wind, temperature, relative humidity and air quality. Conditions have to meet certain criteria in order for the prescribed burn to proceed. Fire personnel will stop burning if weather conditions change and do not allow for a safe operation (gusty winds), or the situation becomes unsafe. Weather and safety conditions are monitored constantly.

Wildlife Concerns

  • It is past the breeding season for migratory birds. Resident or migrant birds are mobile and can move out of the burn area, which will comprise only some of the habitats available.
  • Large mammals such as deer and elk are very mobile and can move out of the area. The human activity in the area prior to ignition will likely cause the animals to move.
  • Smaller mammals such as bobcat, fox, skunk, and raccoon will be able to move out of the area or use rocky outcrops and dens.
  • Areas of highest wildlife value have been removed from the burn area. Burn blocks are trending to smaller, such that a variety of (unburned) habitats are available nearby.
  • Since a lot of ground maintenance has been done to guide fire behavior, and to promote more understory/ground fire rather than an intense crown fire, a lot of unburned or lightly burned areas are likely to be left within the fire perimeter.
  • Snakes and lizards will find refuge in burrows, under rocks, and in rocky outcrops.

After the Burn

  • Residual smoke may be visible.
  • Firefighting resources will remain on the prescribed burn until the fire is confirmed as being controlled by significant weather conditions or determined to be out.
  • There are also monitoring plots for important data gathering. These plots were studied before the fire, and researchers will return after the fire to document scientific changes.

Smoke Issues

  • Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. Learn how to protect your health from wood smoke.
  • During a prescribed burn, smoke is generated and will drift according to wind currents and other atmospheric conditions.
  • Smoke could settle in areas at night when cooler air traps the smoke particles closer to the surface of the ground.
  • Smoke will be visible from Foothills Highway, Lyons, Boulder, Estes Park, Longmont, Fort Collins, Loveland and possibly east to I-25.
  • Children, older adults and people with heart or lung disease are more likely to be effected by smoke.
  • Close windows and stay indoors if you are concerned.

Benefits of Prescribed Fire

  • Reduces hazardous fuels, protecting human communities from extreme fires.
  • Minimizes the spread of pest insects and disease.
  • Removes unwanted species that threaten species native to an ecosystem.
  • Provides habitat for foraging wildlife.
  • Improves habitat for threatened and endangered species.
  • Recycles nutrients back to the soil.
  • Promotes the growth of trees, wildflowers, and other plants.

Completed Burns

Slash Pile Burning

Slash piles were burned at Hall Ranch and Walker Ranch during the 2018-2019 winter. Pile burns were conducted to reduce the amount of fuel on the ground as a result of thinning operations.

Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain – South Dowe Flats (2018)

  • Oct. 25, 2018 and Feb. 28, 2019.
  • 40 acres were burned in the South Dowe Flats project.

Hall Ranch

Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain

  • Completed on September 1, 2017.
  • 185 acres were burned during the burn window.
  • Burn Area Map

Wapiti 2 Burn at Heil Valley Ranch

  • Completed on March 16, 2016.
  • 150 of the 270 acre project area were burned.

Overlook Burn at Heil Valley Ranch

  • Completed on Oct. 28, 2015.
  • 22 acres burned.
  • Approximately 70 firefighters from 15 local fire protection districts and agencies provided resources for the project.
  • All fire was contained within the burn unit perimeter and the fire’s edge has been secured.
  • The goal of this project was to reduce forest understory fuels to help decrease the occurrence and impact from large uncharacteristic wildfires.
  • Overlook Prescribed Burn Report

Nighthawk Burn at Hall Ranch

  • Completed on Oct. 14, 2015.
  • Fire was introduced to at least 75% of the burn unit in a mosaic pattern.
  • To help decrease the occurrence and impact from large uncharacteristic wildfires, the forest understory fuels were reduced by up to 75%.
  • The fire intensity was high enough to remove all surface vegetation down to mineral soil on up to 25% of the unit, creating conditions able to support natural ponderosa pine regeneration.
  • Post fire monitoring will continue and a report will be available for the public to view when completed.
  • Nighthawk Prescribed Burn Report

Wapiti Burn at Heil Valley Ranch

  • Completed on Nov. 9, 2014.
  • 150 acres burned.

Contact Us

Parks & Open Space

Stefan Reinold