Sign up to receive updates on Tunnel Hill pile burning

Special to the Sky-Hi News

WINTER PARK — The U.S. Forest Service’s Sulphur Ranger District is starting its planning process for the 2013/2014 pile burning season. Topping the list for pile burning this year is Tunnel Hill, located on U.S. Highway 40 between the Town of Winter Park and Winter Park Resort.

Funded in large part by Denver Water’s Forest to Faucets program, the 400-acre Tunnel Hill Fuels Reduction Project is creating a critical fuels break, protecting infrastructure and reducing the potential impact of wildfire on watersheds. Started in 2012, the project reduced thick stands of lodgepole pine growing on the steep hillsides between Winter Park’s residential and business communities and the ski area. Due to steep terrain, the wood could not be removed. All material between 1-7 inches in diameter was piled to burn, creating an estimated 20,000 piles. The project is not complete until the piles are burned.

Burning will begin in mid- to late-October, or as soon as there is a minimum of 3 inches of snowpack in that area. Depending on conditions, burning could continue through the end of the year. While pile burning will occur under ideal weather conditions and in a manner that will benefit smoke dispersal, residents of the Fraser Valley may still be impacted by smoke, especially in the evening and early morning.

Announcements about Tunnel Hill will be sent in advance of and on burn days via email. To sign up for that list, please email subject line Tunnel Hill. You may also sign up for a general email list to receive announcements whenever the district is burning piles by using the subject line Pile Burning. Burning announcements will also be made through the Forest’s Twitter account @usfsarp #TunnelHill; through local media and through social media and websites provided by our cooperators. More information will be released in the weeks to come. For questions or concerns, contact K. Reid Armstrong at

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