Prescribed Burns
Prescribed burn

Prescribed Burn Projects

Prescribed Burns

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

Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain

  • Prescribed burns will occur sometime between Jan. 10 and April 30.
  • Approximately 30 acres in the South Dowe Flats project area. Property will remain open as it is a safe distance from any recreation area.
  • Up to 210 acres in the Arapaho project area. Property will be closed during ignition days and will reopen when deemed safe.
  • Ron Stewart Preserve Prescribed Burn Area Map

Heil Valley Ranch

  • Prescribed burns will occur sometime between Jan. 10 and April 30.
  • Approximately 80 acres in the Ingersoll project area.
  • Up to 240 acres in the Wapiti project area.
  • Property will be closed during ignition days and will reopen when deemed safe.
  • Heil Valley Ranch Prescribed Burn Area Map

Slash Pile Burning

Slash pile burning will be conducted at Hall Ranch and Walker Ranch when there is sufficient snow cover to ensure safe fire operations and containment. Pile burns are conducted to reduce the amount of fuel on the ground as a result of thinning operations. Hall Ranch and Walker Ranch will remain open as slash pile burning does not require property closure.

Irrigation Ditch Burning

Irrigation ditches are burned to remove unwanted vegetation for improving water conveyance, nutrient cycling, and planting success. Burns are contingent on ideal weather conditions, including relative humidity, fuel moisture, and wind. Irrigation ditches and agricultural properties scheduled for controlled burns include:

  • Jim Henry (N. 115th St. and Niwot Rd.)
  • Table Mountain (N. 55th St. and Nelson Rd.)
  • Wittemyer (N. 119th St. and Mineral Rd.)
  • Gage (Crane Hollow Rd. and Hygiene Rd.)
  • Pella Crossing (N. 75th St. and Hygiene Rd.)
  • Mumford (N. 107th St. and Vermillion Rd.)
  • Keyes North (N. 119th and Quicksilver Rd.)
  • Lutz and Wambsganss (N. 119th St. and Niwot Rd.)
  • Josephine Roche (N. 119th St. and Arapahoe Rd.)

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.

Contact

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 bcforestry@bouldercounty.org with “Sign Up” in the subject line.

Sign Up

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 bcforestry@bouldercounty.org.

Updates will be also be posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Staffing

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

Prescribed Burn at Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain

Prescribed Burn at 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

Erin Hartnett
303-678-6211