The other day, my coworker instant-messaged me in a panic. He had seen smoke rising near Black Forest
It turned out to be nothing, but his reaction was telling. Those of us who lived through the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires tend to get pretty worked up by the sight of smoke.
While some fires are cause for panic, not all are. Under the right conditions, fires are healthy for our forests. That's why experts set fires, known as prescribed burns. The fires thin the forest, burn off excess rubbish, and keep the remaining trees healthy and bug-resistant. While fires always carry risks — and some prescribed burns have raged out of control and caused mass destruction — most do exactly what they set out to do. The trick is to make sure conditions are perfect for controlling the blaze.
So it's reassuring to know that local experts are very picky about choosing the right time to set a prescribed burn. The Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network
, a group of prescribed-burn stakeholders, recently cancelled two prescribed burns near Woodland Park
because perfect conditions for the fires never materialized this season. The fires will be put off until next year, because when it comes to fire, it's always better safe than sorry.
Fire Learning Network Prescribed Burns Postponed until 2016
The Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network has decided to postpone its prescribed burns until next year. The group had planned to conduct burns in two areas, Catamount and Sourdough, both in the Woodland Park area. However, weather and conditions were not ripe to move forward with the projects this year.
When a controlled burn is implemented, it is conducted under very specific parameters laid out after years of planning. Daily weather conditions play a key role in whether a burn can be accomplished or not. Due to moisture levels, weather forecasts and burn restrictions, the fire managers did not feel there was a window in which to initiate the burns at this time.
The Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network will revisit these projects in 2016 and will continue to keep the community apprised as to when they plan to move forward with these burns.
Please visit www.pikespeakfln.org for more information on these projects and to learn more about the Fire Learning Network.
The Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network is a group of stakeholders working together to foster the safe and appropriate use of fire as a management tool for reducing wildfire risks to communities, restoring forest resilience and enabling people and nature to better adapt to and co-exist with fire. More information can be found at www.pikespeakfln.org