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Author: Melinda LaJudice

Boulder Ranger District prepares to begin winter pile burning

BOULDER, Colo.—October 28, 2019— With fresh snow on the ground across higher-elevation areas of Boulder and Gilpin counties, crews from the Roosevelt National Forest’s Boulder Ranger District are preparing to start burning slash piles resulting from fuels reduction and hazardous tree removal projects in the area.


Fuels reduction programs involve mechanical or hand thinning projects, removing trees to reduce forest density and improve forest health. While larger logs are removed for use, unmarketable limbs, saplings, and brush are piled up for burning. Hand piles result from crews using chainsaws to thin the forest and then piling the sawn material; machine piles result from using logging equipment and primarily consist of tree limbs left behind after marketable material is removed.


This season’s pile burning could begin as soon as November 4 and continue through this spring, depending on weather and fuels conditions. Piles are only ignited when fuels managers are confident that the project can be undertaken safely and successfully. Snow cover, fuel moisture, precipitation, wind, temperature, and available firefighter staffing are all taken into account before beginning a pile burn.


Piles which are ready for burning are prioritized based on elevation, aspect, access, and proximity to homes. Smoke, flames, and glowing embers are often visible, and are a normal part of pile burning operations. Snow helps contain the piles and firefighters monitor the area during and after the burn. Public and firefighter safety is always the number-one priority in burning operations.


Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health; for more information see


To get the latest updates on when and where burning will occur, follow us on Twitter and Facebook @usfsarp. To be added to our e-mail notification list, send an e-mail to and ask to be added to the Boulder Ranger District Prescribed Fire list. For a complete list of locations where burning will occur this season, as well as updated accomplishments and photos, visit our InciWeb page at


The Boulder Ranger District has prioritized the areas listed below for pile burning this winter:

  • Lump Gulch 18 (2,000 hand piles) – 0.5 mile north of Rollinsville, west of Highway 119.
  • Lump Gulch 35 (500 hand piles) – 3 miles south of Rollinsville, west of Highway 119.
  • Lump Gulch 38 (2,000 hand piles) – South of South Beaver Road, 1 mile east of Highway 119.
  • Sugarloaf Unit 4 (475 hand piles) – 1.75 miles west of Gold Hill on County Road 52.
  • James Creek RFB Unit 1 (800 hand piles) – 1.5 miles northwest of Jamestown, west of County Road 87.
  • James Creek RFB Units 6, 7, 8 (7,500 hand piles) – 0.5 mile south of Jamestown.
  • James Creek RFB Unit 10 (3,250 hand piles) – Lefthand Canyon, 2 miles east of Peak to Peak Highway on Highway 52.
  • James Creek RFB Units 5, 12, 13 (10,000 hand piles) – Lefthand Canyon, 1 mile east of Gold Lake and 5 miles west of U.S. 36.
  • James Creek RFB Unit 17 (1,425 hand piles) – 0.5 mile north of Cal-Wood Ranch.
  • James Creek Unit M1602 (100 hand and machine piles) – Lefthand Canyon, 3 miles east of Peak to Peak Highway on Highway 52.
  • James Creek Unit H1501 (1,500 hand piles) – Sky View Estates, near Ceran St. Vrain Trailhead, 2 miles east of Peak to Peak Highway on Overland Rd.
  • James Creek Units M3401, M3501, M3502, O3501, M3201, M3403 (500 hand piles, 100 machine piles) – 1 mile east of Gold Lake.
  • James Creek Units H3401, H3402 (450 hand and machine piles) – Boulder Heights Subdivision, East of Peak View Road and Peak View Circle.
  • Gill (925 hand piles) – 0.25 mile south of Jamestown.
  • St. Vrain Units 13d, 14a, 14c (11,400 hand piles) – 1 mile west of Big Elk Subdivision on Johnny Park Rd.
  • St. Vrain Units 12a, 12b, 12d (6,000 hand piles) – In the town of Meeker Park.
  • Forsythe II Unit 74 (1,500 hand piles) – 1 mile north of Wondervu, west side of Gross Reservoir.
  • Horse Creek Units 1, 2, 4 (50 machine piles) – 3 miles west of Gold Hill.

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Reminder CO119 Full Closure 10.19.2019 to 10.20.2019


Colorado Highway 119 Boulder Canyon full closure for safety blasting Oct. 19

Colorado Highway 119 will be closed from MP 39-40 on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 8 a.m. through Sunday, Oct. 20 at 8 a.m., allowing project crews to safely remove a potentially unstable rock ledge above the Boulder Canyon. This 3,000 cubic yard blast is necessary to ensure the safety of Colorado 119 users, and will require more clean-up than the regularly scheduled daily blasts.

In light of the start of the school year and bus operations, the Colorado Highway 119 team has scheduled this extended full closure over a weekend to minimize impacts as much as possible. During the extended closure, travelers are urged to avoid the Boulder Canyon route if possible. Local detours are available.

From Boulder, a northern alternate route can be taken via CO 7, US 36 and CO 72. A southern alternate route is available via CO 93 and CO 72. Please note, motorists taking the southern alternate route should be aware of a current project on CO 72 in Coal Creek Canyon, between Plainview Road (mile point 12.3) and Pinecliffe (MP 24.6). A detour map is included below. Expect lane shifts and short delays at this work zone.