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Release Date: 12/03/13
Contacts: Chris Barth, Public Information Officer    
  BLM - Southwest District Fire Management    

BLM Plans Pile Burns to Reduce Hazardous Fuels (12-03-13)

Dolores, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management’s Tres Rios Field Office plans to begin burning slash piles for three hazardous fuels reduction projects as early as Thursday, December 5th, or as conditions allow. The purpose of all three slash pile burns is to reduce hazardous fuels in the wildland urban interface (WUI) as a follow-up to previous mechanical fuels reduction activities.
The Animas City Mountain project, located on the west side of Animas City Mountain in Durango, includes 300 piles of ponderosa pine and oakbrush within a 29 acre area. The Anasazi Heritage Center project, located 2 miles west of Dolores, includes 30 piles of pinõn-juniper and oakbrush within a 10 acre area. The Disappointment Valley project, located approximately 8 miles SE of Slick Rock, includes 200 piles of tamarisk within a 100 acre project area.  In addition to reducing hazardous fuels in the WUI, the Disappointment Valley project will also reduce invasive species. Each project is expected to be completed within one to two days of initiation. Fire crews will monitor burn piles following ignition to ensure public safety.
An environmental analysis and detailed burn plan has been completed for all three project areas. “The burn plan contains specific criteria regarding weather conditions and air quality that must be met to help ensure control of the burns as well as to minimize the potential smoke impacts to local communities,” said Scott McDermid, Fire Management Officer.
The BLM has obtained a Smoke Permit that identifies atmospheric conditions under which the burns can be implemented from the Colorado State Air Pollution Control Division. While smoke may be visible at times during slash pile burning, most of the smoke will lift and dissipate during the warmest part of the day.  Some smoke may linger over the area and in drainages as temperatures drop during the evening. 
“Pile burns are generally conducted during the winter and spring; when there is sufficient snow on the ground to ensure that conditions are safe to conduct the burn,” said Chris Barth, BLM Southwest District Fire Mitigation Specialist. “Prescribed fires – including pile burns – help to reduce wildfire risk to communities, help restore and maintain ecosystem health, and achieve specific resource objectives such as reducing invasive plant species.”

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  29211 Highway 184      Dolores, CO 81323  

Last updated: 12-03-2013