If you see smoke near Estes Park, don't call 9-1-1.  They are burning slash piles. Our most recent snowstorm left about four inches of snow  in Estes Park, which is enough to prompt slash pile burning at Hermit Park Open Space, southeast of the city.

Pile burning started Tuesday morning and will continue  the remainder of the week if wind speeds remain calm and snow continues to accumulate.

Burning piles is part of an on-going wildfire mitigation/forest health project on Larimer County parks and open space properties, involving mechanical thinning, hand piling tree limbs and pile burning. Over 200 piles at Hermit Park Open Space were targeted for burning this winter. However, only 50 piles have burned since Thanksgiving 2012, due to poor snow accumulation and strong winds.

WHY ARE SLASH PILES BURNED?

  1. Reduce fuel loading to decrease the likelihood of catastrophic fires
  2. Remove trees damaged by insects and disease
  3. Restore forested areas to a healthier condition, improving wildlife habitat

Please do not call 911! They are already aware of these burns. 

[Larimer County’s parks and open spaces]