Prescribed Burn Planned for Pargin Mountain and Beaver Meadows/First Notch Areas

BAYFIELD, Co., September 4, 2019 –The Columbine Ranger District is planning a prescribed burn this fall in the Pargin Mountain and the Beaver Meadows/First Notch areas of the San Juan National Forest 10 to 18 miles east of Bayfield. Burning operations in the area may continue through October, weather permitting. This planned event will use both ground and aerial ignition methods, while also following the weather and fuel perimeters stated in the prescribed burn plan.

Vallecito-Piedra (VP) Unit 1
The VP Unit 1 prescribed burn encompasses a total of 5,771 acres between Beaver Creek Road and First Notch Road, north of highway 160 between Bayfield and Pagosa Springs.

The Pargin prescribed burn covers just under 5675 acres south of highway 160 between Bayfield and Pagosa Springs.  This unit was last burned in 2016. 

The VP Unit 1 prescribed burn will begin Thursday, September 5 weather permitting. The project will take about a week. Crews will begin work on the Pargin prescribed burn after completing VP Unit 1. The Pargin prescribed burn will also take about a week.

Reintroduction of prescribed burning is necessary to improve and restore vegetative conditions. The prescribed burns will improve habitat for deer and elk by encouraging re-sprouting of oak and allowing sunlight to stimulate the growth of grasses and forbs.  These projects are also designed to improve the health of ponderosa pine stands by reducing competition from Gambel oak, removing ground litter to expose mineral soil for seed germination, and releasing natural minerals and nutrients into the soil.  Prescribed burning also reduces the ladder fuels that can carry fire into the canopy, killing mature trees.

Daytime smoke is expected to travel to the north/northeast and to be lofted high into the atmosphere.  However, nighttime smoke will travel downslope into the Beaver Creek drainage, the Piedra River, and south to the Pine River just north of Ignacio.  Smoke will be heavier in the mornings following burning operations, lifting and clearing out by mid-day. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health.  For more information see:

For more information call 970-884-2512. Up-to-date information on the San Juan National Forest Prescribed Burn Program can be found on InciWeb at

Wildfire Adapted Partnership