Skip to Content

Forest Service prepares for 2,000-acre prescribed burn near Woodland Park

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- It's been at least five years since the Pike National Forest in the Pikes Peak Ranger District has benefitted from a prescribed burn -- an intentional fire under tightly-controlled conditions -- to thin the forest, increase health and prevent more devastating wildfires.


A burning operation covering 2,000 acres is scheduled for later this month along Rampart Range Road, in the mountains above Woodland Park.

Forest Service

Carl Bauer, a district ranger, surveyed conditions on opposite sides of the road during a media tour Thursday.


"If we were to get a wildfire that started in the area behind me, the fire would have much more fuel to burn, and have an opportunity to get up into the tree tops," he explained. "The forest here, is much thicker than it naturally should be. But on the opposite side of the road, the forest is thinner and healthier because of work we've done there over the past few years."


It's in the healthier area that the Forest Service will conduct a prescribed burn; crews previously removed potential wildfire fire fuels under trees and turned them into mulch, or gathered them into piles.


"We would start with a drip torch and start burning along our control lines," Bauer explained. "Once we have a sufficient amount of black already established against our fire lines, we would then engage a helicopter to start dropping ping-pong balls from the helicopter on the interior side of the fire, that will ignite upon reaching the ground."

Forest Service

Such burns are conducted only with close scrutiny and under ideal weather conditions that allow smoke to rise into the sky, instead of accumulate closer to the ground.

Bauer said that the Rampart Fire, which burned nearby this spring, was easier for crews to contain because of similar mitigation work that was done previously.


The scheduled burn, he added, is part of a five-year increased effort by the Forest Service, called the Wildfire Crisis Strategy; it is increasing district budgets by millions of dollars to provide more manpower and resources for wildfire mitigation and forest health promotion.

"I hired more people this summer than I have in the past three years," Bauer said. "I'm pleased with the direction we're going in. But we still have a long way to go."

Forest Service

The Forest Service plans to conduct the Teller County burn on or around Sept. 25, so be aware of that timetable if you see smoke in the area.

For more information about smoke from wildfires and prescribed burns, visit:

The objective, Bauer said, is to burn the excess fuels so that future fires can move harmlessly through the forest without spreading to trees.


Bauer said that because of wetter weather this year, crews were able to separately burn more fuel piles than normal.

"We did it in June this year and we normally don't do it until winter," he said.

Article Topic Follows: Top Stories

Jump to comments ↓

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


KRDO NewsChannel 13 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content