News From The Woods Near Leadville Today
Planned Burns, Jobs and Holiday Trees
On top of everything else 2020 threw at Colorado, the state also saw the two largest wildfires in its history with over 600,000 acres burned across the Centennial State. While Leadville and Lake County were spared any direct impact, local wildfire crews heeded the call to assist neighboring departments and agencies to battle the blazes on the frontlines.
Now in December, as the cooler weather – and hopefully more snow! – moves in, concerns of wildfires shift on the priority list. However, residents should be advised of a series of planned pile burnings across the state and one near Leadville Today. So you could see smoke in those bright blue skies in the coming weeks.
Where There’s Smoke
“Prescribed fire is an effective land management tool used to reduce the accumulation of hazardous fuels and to lessen the impacts of future wildfires,” said Bill King, fire management staff officer. The Pike San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands is preparing for prescribed pile burning on National Forest System lands, as conditions allow.
Ignitions will take place when weather and fuel conditions are likely to produce expected fire behavior within project-specific burn plan requirements that will limit substantial impacts of smoke in surrounding communities.
The piles consist of small trees, tops and limbs cut and piled during hazardous fuel management projects. These projects help improve forest health, minimize risk to firefighters, and improve public safety. Once ignited, burns may continue for several days to several weeks. Smoke may linger after the burn is complete and may be visible from many locations. Here are the targeted projects:
Leadville Ranger District
- Tennessee Creek, southeast side of Turquoise Lake off of County Road 9 (Lake County)
South Platte Ranger District
- Bear Creek and Bear Mountain, north of County Road 67 (Douglas County)
- Long Scraggy, Night Hawk, Osprey and Ouzel along the South Platte river corridor (Jefferson County)
- Spring Creek, Dell, Raleigh Peak and Little Morrison south of Buffalo Creek along highway 126 (Jefferson County)
- Payne Gulch, near community of Bailey (Park County)
South Park Ranger District
- Lake George East, surrounding the Lake George Work Center (Park County)
- County Road 98, both sides of Park County Road 98, SSW of Wagon Tongue Reservoir (Park County)
- Road Gulch, FR 240 and Park County Road 98, SSW of Wagon Tongue Reservoir (Park County)
Salida Ranger District
Pikes Peak Ranger District
- Several locations north of Divide along County Road 51, and along the 717 trails between the Phantom Creek trailhead and Forest Service Road 355.
- The north/northeast side of Pikes Peak along the Pike’s Peak Highway near Crowe Gulch trailhead.
- North of Woodland Park off Highway 67, just off Painted Rocks Road (County Road 78).
- West of Woodland Park on Highway 24 near Charis Bible College along County Road 25.
- The Monument Fire Center, west of the town of Monument.
- East of Woodland Park off Rampart Range Road between Forest Service Roads 306 (Rampart Reservoir area) and Forest Service Road 320 (Mt. Herman Road).
San Carlos Ranger District
- 12-Mile, in the vicinity of San Isabel and near State Highways 78 and 165 (Custer and Pueblo Counties)
- Alvarado, approximately 6 miles southwest of Westcliffe, at the end of County Road 140 (Custer County)
- Bear Gulch, approximately 13 miles east-northeast of Westcliffe, along Forest Service Road 274 (Custer County)
- Black Mountain, approximately 10 miles north of Gardner, in the vicinity of Forest Service Roads 630 and 634 (Huerfano County)
- Cuchara, approximately 7.5 miles east-northeast of Cuchara, at the end of County Road 360 (Huerfano County)
- Gibson, approximately 10 miles west of Westcliffe, along Forest Service Road 173 (Custer County)
- Greenhorn, along the crest of the Wet Mountains, near Forest Service Road 401 and along Forest Service Road 369 (Custer and Huerfano Counties)
Comanche National Grassland
- Sand Canyon (20 miles WSW of Campo, CO; Baca County)
- Purgatoire Canyon (near Dinosaur Track site; Las Animas County)
Cimarron National Grassland
- Tunnerville Work Center (10 miles North of Elkhart, KS; Morton County)
- Cimarron River (near Cimarron Recreation Area and fishing ponds; Morton County)
Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information about health and smoke see: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health. Receive notifications by following us on Twitter @PSICC_NF or by following our Alerts RSS feed here.
USFS Seasonal Jobs Workshop
The White River National Forest is partnering with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Northwest Colorado Workforce Center on a virtual workshop Monday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. to answer questions about the more than 150 seasonal positions available on the Forest this summer as well as the USAjobs hiring process.
The application period for the temporary positions for the 2021 season ends Dec. 11. The Forest has a wide range of positions open, including customer service, trail crew, recreation, biological technicians and others. While many positions don’t require previous experience, they all require that applicants submit their materials on the USAjobs.gov website by Dec. 11.
Register for the free workshop online at www.ConnectingColorado.com by selecting the “Workshops” tab and then “Upcoming Workshops.” Participants will need to create a job seeker account through the Connecting Colorado website to register.
More details about the temporary positions are available at www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.
O Tannenbaum! Leadville’s Got Trees!
Forest Service Permits Online
The Leadville Ranger Districts on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands offer the opportunity for forest visitors to continue a tradition or start a new one by moving all holiday tree permit sales online starting October 15 through for the 2020 holiday tree permit season.
Be sure of the area you are purchasing a permit for. Each permit has a unique number associated with it so permits purchased through the Recreation.gov website must be printed to be valid. Visitors will need to display the printed permit on the dash of their vehicle on the day they visit the forest to cut their tree.
Visitors must establish a Recreation.gov account to purchase a permit and may access their permit through their account at any time. There is a reservation fee of $2.50 for permits sold to customers for the reservation service and support from the Recreation.gov system and staff. The funds from Christmas tree permits purchased through the Recreation.gov system will go back to the participating Forest through Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) funding requirements.
Leadville Ranger District
According to the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands USFS website in Leadville the Christmas trees are $10 per permit with a limit of 2 permits per household. Christmas tree cutting is allowed throughout the Leadville Ranger District except at campgrounds, trailheads, ski areas, wilderness areas, and the recreation area near Turquoise Lake.
ABCs and FREE Christmas Trees
O Tannenbaum, it’s a good time of year to know a 4th grader! Yes, it’s true that through the Every Kid Outdoors initiative the Forest Service is offering one free Holiday Tree permit to fourth-graders that have a valid 4th Grade Interagency Pass. These free Holiday Tree permits are available through the online system by selecting the option and then entering their voucher or pass number when prompted.
Forest health is important, by removing these smaller trees you are contributing to the overall wellbeing of the forest and reducing fire danger. Persons cutting or removing trees from the National Forest without a valid permit are subject to a fine of up to $5000 and/or 6 months imprisonment.
Trees may be cut District-wide with a few exceptions. Developed recreation sites and Wilderness areas are closed to cutting. Permits will be issued for each tree that is harvested and should be securely fastened to the tree before transporting them from the area. Handsaws and axes are the only tools allowed – chainsaws are prohibited.
Remember to wear warm clothes and bring a rope to secure the tree to the vehicle. Also keep in mind that U.S. Forest Service roads are not plowed and some roads close seasonally on Dec. 1. Please call the Leadville District Office at 719-486-0749 or, visit the website for additional information.