Southern Ute Agency Fire Management began a planned brush pile burn in Sandoval Canyon on Wednesday.
The 120-acre burn was scheduled to continue until Friday but stalled because of weather conditions.
“Yesterday’s planned burn went well, however due to the recent storm, we have unfavorable burn conditions – therefore burns will not be conducted today,” wrote Lindsay Box, spokeswoman for the tribe, in an email.
The burn area is located on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, north of Archuleta County Road 500 along Southern Ute Route 156.
Drivers may see smoke on County Road 500 and in the vicinity of Arboles. Passersby are encouraged to use caution in case smoke settles into the road corridor.
“This particular area does pose a fire risk, and maintenance is vital to reduce that risk,” Box wrote.
In an earlier phase of this mitigation project, crews conducted a thinning operation of piñon, juniper and ponderosa pine. Phase 2, the current project, is to burn the pile of juniper and pine collected while thinning the forest on the reservation, Box wrote.
“This reduces the fire risk and helps promote a healthy forest,” she wrote.