Slash pile and open burning in Grand County
Ryan Summerlin February 21, 2013
Slash pile burning is an effective and efficient method for disposing of hazardous fuels and for mitigation of future wildfire intensity and controllability. However, we must be concerned with safe methods, regulations and air quality.The following information is from Grand County Division of Natural Resources (GCDNR) and can be accessed at http://co.grand.co.us/DNR/openburn.html.Open burning season in Grand County commences after 3-6 inches of snow has accumulated, usually sometime in November, and is open though March. If you are burning piles greater than 3 feet in diameter and two 2 feet in height and less than 12 feet by 12 feet, you need to obtain a free permit from the DNR. The permit application can be accessed here: http://co.grand.co.us/DNR/Links/2012.2013BurnApplication.pdf. If your piles are 12 feet or larger at the base, the permit cost is $50.After they receive your application, GCDNR personnel will review your project and notify you when it is approved. You must call them at 970-887-0745 on the days you wish to burn to see if burning is approved for that day in your area. Remember, there should be SNOW on the GROUND where you are burning.While snow cover greatly reduces fire spread, all piles must be attended when flame is present. Whether the homeowner or a contracted service burns the pile, GCDNR asks that enough personnel be on site to manage the operation with a general rule of one person per three to six closely situated piles. Piles should be “chunked” (after the initial burn down of the pile, unburned perimeter material is moved to the center) to enhance the consumption of slash. DNR recommends piles not to exceed 15 feet by 15 feet by 15 feet so the piles are easily consumed within a 12-hour period.Remember that your Homeowners’ Association regulations take primacy over county regulations. The GCDNR permit is only valid if your HOA allows for open burning within its statutes.Wildfire preparedness activities are important, with slash pile burning being one method to minimize the fuels available when wildfire strikes. Let’s all work together with our families, neighbors, HOAs, towns, and our whole county to create a wildfire-aware community. Remember that Wildfire Awareness Week in Grand County is June 3-9.Paul Mintier is Grand Lake Fire Wildland Coordinator, and Schelly Olson is Grand Fire PIO and Grand County Wildfire Preparedness / Ready, Set, Go! Coordinator.The Grand County Firefighters Association (GCFFA) is a consortium of Fire Officers from all five Fire Districts in the county.