Fire managers from Rocky Mountain National Park are preparing to conduct prescribed burns in the Beaver Meadows entrance area. Burning will only occur if favorable weather and fuel conditions permit. A 36 acre section of this area was burned this past October.
One of the primary reasons park managers conduct prescribed burns is to help protect life and property from wildland fire. Fire managers conduct burns in areas that may increase the likelihood that firefighters could hold a fire inside the park, near roads and in strategic locations. Prescribed fires reduce the amount of fuels available in the project area.
Prior to and during prescribed burns, fire managers closely monitor weather with multiple weather forecasts generated by the National Weather Service customized to the burn location and with frequent on site weather measurements. They also consider forecasted and observed wind speeds. Fire managers and fire personnel at the scene are constantly monitoring conditions during a prescribed burn and adapt accordingly. It is impossible to burn without generating smoke. Burning may be conducted for several weeks in multiple segments to limit daily smoke production.
Prescribed burning operations may begin as early as mid-May through October, depending on weather and fuel conditions. Ignition will likely occur on a weekday with smoldering and smoke emissions lasting for an additional 3-10 days. Smoke will be visible from Highways 36 and Tunnel Road as well as other locations in the park. Every effort will be made to minimize smoke impacts on visitors and the adjacent community; however some smoke is anticipated to flow down the Beaver Brook, and Big Thompson River corridors and into the Town of Estes Park. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health. No trail or road closures are anticipated but visitors passing actively burning areas may be escorted by fire personnel to ensure their safety.
Safety factors, weather conditions, air quality, personnel availability and environmental regulations are continually monitored as a part of any fire management operation. For more information please contact the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.