The controlled burn scheduled near the North Catamount Reservoir has been pushed back because of weather. Currently, there's a burn ban in Teller County, according to Colorado Springs Utilities.
Eric Howell with Colorado Springs Utilities said it's important burn that area, "CSU is involved because of the water sheds that are directly tied to our water supply. Forest management, forest heath is critical to the resiliency and sustainability of our water supply.”
Colorado Springs Utilities said the new tentative date for the burn is October 26th. When the burn happens, Howell said smoke may be visible in Colorado Springs from the northwest of Pikes Peak.
“We’re look at three days of active burning, action ignition work. Then we will continue to do some monitoring. We will have crews monitoring the situation, and keeping an eye on the weather. Just make sure we don’t have any issues,” said Howell.
The sight of smoke in the horizon is usually an unwelcome sight in the Pikes Peak region. But later this month, that smoke will be for a positive purpose.
Two prescribed burn projects are scheduled to take place this month in the Woodland Park area. The exact dates haven't been cemented; those associated with the projects say it'll depend on weather conditions.
One of the burns, known as the Sourdough prescribed burn, will take place over a nearly 15-acre area off of Sourdough Road just south of the Manitou Experimental Forest. This is north of Woodland Park. The Sourdough burn is intended to reduce the fire risk in the area, as well as promote plant and grass growth. It is scheduled to start sometime after Oct. 12.
The other burn, the North Catamount prescribed burn, will as the name suggests take place near the North Catamount Reservoir. Planned for 105 acres, it will be the largest prescribed burn in the region since the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires. A spokesperson with Colorado Springs Utilities says the burn start is tentatively slated for Oct. 19.
"Over the past 20 years, multiple fuel reduction projects have been completed on the North Slope using hand crews and other mechanical techniques,” Eric Howell with the Colorado Springs Utilities Forest Program said in a statement released Wednesday. "Over time, however, wildfire conditions have increased. We can help mitigate risks effectively and safely through the implementation of prescribed fire.”
It's been five years since the last controlled, burn and more than 10 years since work has been done around Catamount Reservoir. In 2010, there was a controlled burn of about 115 acres. Howell said the reason it's been so long is obvious.
“Given the fire seasons we’ve seen in 2012, 2013… some overhauling of the prescribed fire management through the state… division of fire control and prevention we are finally getting back to a place we can start to do fires again.”
The Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network is working with Colorado Air Pollution and Control Division to manage potential smoke impacts from the burns, according to the news release sent out Wednesday.
11 News will update this story once the start dates are confirmed.