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Prescribed burns planned in Pike National Forest, smoke might be visible from Colorado Springs

October 12, 2017 Updated: October 12, 2017 at 10:00 pm
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FILE - A AmeriCorp service member Deanna Gentner, used an oil drip torch to work a prescribed control burn in the Pike National Forest, North of Woodland Park on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009. (Gazette file photo)

Prescribed pile burns are expected through spring 2018 in parts of the Pike National Forest in El Paso and Teller counties, the U.S. Forest Service announced in a release.

"Expect smoke to be visible from Woodland Park as well as areas along the Front Range including Colorado Springs," the release says. The piles that will be burned consist of small trees, tops and limbs that were cut down "to reduce hazardous fuels."

Prescribed burns, which might begin in October, will happen in the following areas:

- On the northeast side of Pikes Peak along the Pike's Peak Highway and near the reservoirs

- North of Divide along County Road 51, along Forest Service Roads 357 and 364 and along the 717 trail between the Phantom Creek trailhead and Forest Service Road 355

- Near Raspberry Mountain along Forest Service Road 399 - several piles near the Crags Trailhead are from an operation to remove hazardous trees killed by spruce beetle

- Just off Painted Rocks Road (County Road 78)

- At the junction of Highway 67 and Forest Service Road 339

"In contrast to broadcast burning, pile burning will create several smaller columns of smoke from each pile," the release says. "Smoke may linger for several days after ignition is completed."

Additional Pike National Forest prescribed burns are planned during the same time frame in parts of Teller County and southern Douglas County, the Forest Service said.

"Expect smoke to be visible from Woodland Park as well as areas along the Front Range, including Denver and Colorado Springs," a Forest Service release says. The burns will happen 8-10 miles north of Woodland Park, between Westcreek and Forest Service Road 342.

The burns are intended to "reduce the potential for high intensity fires and lower the risk to adjacent private lands and homes," the release says. Prescribed burns can remove debris, low-hanging branches and small trees, as well as "help to restore the health of conifer and aspen stands by helping to remove dwarf mistletoe, insects/disease, improving soil nutrients and resprouting grass and shrubs for wildlife habitat."

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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