Mesa Verde National Park to Burn Large Brush Piles
Contact: Tessy Shirakawa, 970-529-4628
The park’s fire management staff will burn large brush piles on Chapin Mesa and in Morefield Canyon sometime in the next two weeks when optimum weather conditions permit.
The purpose of the pile burning project is to safely consume piles of pinyon pine, oak, sagebrush, and juniper trees that were removed from around park structures, near archeological resources, and along park roads as part of an ongoing National Park Service Hazard Fuel Reduction Plan. The Chapin brush pile is located approximately one-half mile north of park headquarters on Chapin Mesa, and the Morefield brush pile is located approximately one and one half miles south of the tunnel on the main park road.
Section 106 and the National Environmental Preservation Act compliance for this project have been approved through the National Park Service Intermountain Regional Office and the Colorado State Historical Preservation Office. The Colorado Air Pollution Control Division of the Department of Public Health and Environment has also approved the burn permit for this project.
The burn will only occur when specific weather conditions exist to insure safety and a minimum of smoke. The park wants to take advantage of the current snow cover surrounding the brush piles. When the weather conditions match the firing prescription, the piles will be ignited during the morning and should be completely burned down by sunset. Smoke from the fires might be seen from outside the park, and at times, smoke may drift across roads in the park headquarters/museum loop area, and possibly near the south end of the tunnel. Smoke from residual smoldering is expected to continue for several days.
For more information, please contact the park’s Fire Management Officer, Allen Farnsworth at (970) 529-5049.
Did You Know?
On a snowy December day in 1888, while ranchers Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason searched Mesa Verde’s canyons for stray cattle, they unexpectedly came upon Cliff Palace for the first time. The following year, the Wetherill brothers and Mason explored an additional 182 cliff dwellings.