Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County Parks & Open Space and the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Wildland Fire Management Program plan to conduct a prescribed burn at Heil Valley Ranch sometime between Oct. 12 and 31. The first attempt will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 12, weather permitting, but could take place any day in the defined burn timeframe. Updates will be posted to the website and sent to the email list (see below).
Heil Valley Ranch will be closed completely for up to 14 days during active ignition operations. Specific areas will reopen as soon as it’s deemed safe to do so by fire personnel.
Fire personnel plan to burn up to 400 acres during this project, which includes completing the 2016 Wapiti 2 Prescribed Burn and reentry into the 2014 Wapiti Prescribed Burn. (Map link)
To determine if conditions are suitable for ignitions, fire managers assess fuel moisture levels and continuously monitor current and projected weather forecasts. Weather considerations include wind, temperature, relative humidity and air quality. Conditions have to meet certain criteria in order for the prescribed burn to proceed. Fire personnel will stop burning if weather conditions change and don’t allow for a safe operation (gusty winds), or the situation becomes unsafe. Weather and safety conditions are monitored constantly.
The forests present today at Heil Valley Ranch have had fire suppressed for the last 150+ years which has resulted in a buildup of fuels. These areas used to see fire on a more frequent interval before these suppression efforts.
A portion of the Wapiti project that was prescribed burned in 2014 is targeted for another treatment with fire this fall. Implementing prescribed fires on a regular interval can continue the efforts to further reduce the amount material created during forest restoration projects and provide a landscape that resembles pre settlement reducing the possible event of a catastrophic wildfire.