Southern Ute Agency Fire Management started a prescribed burn Tuesday in the Cabezon Canyon area.
The agency began to burn 230 acres 5 miles west of Archuleta County Road 700 on Southern Ute Indian Reservation lands. Smoke might be visible from Pagosa Springs, Arboles, the U.S. Highway 160 corridor and surrounding areas. The burn began as planned, and the agency expects to complete the operation by Thursday.
“The crews on the ground will observe the fire behavior,” wrote Lindsay Box, communications specialist for Southern Ute Tribal Council Affairs, in an email. “The plan is to burn 50 acres today pending winds.”
The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations and to improve wildlife habitat, according to a Tribal Council Affairs news release.
For the prescribed burn, the Southern Ute, Zuni, Ramah Navajo and the Southwest Regional Office of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs sent 30 firefighters to conduct the burn.
The last time the Southern Ute Agency Fire Management treated the east Cabezon Canyon area was about 20 years ago, although the agency has treated several thousand acres in the project area.
“The (east) Cabezon prescribed burn was previously planned for this summer, but due to the dry and hot conditions the prescribed burn was postponed,” Box wrote.