Controlled Burn: The Costs and the Benefits

With the Lower North Fork Fire this close to being contained, many are left questioning how necessary a prescribed burn really was during Colorado’s driest, record-breaking March. Amidst unseasonably mild temperatures, and high winds; reports indicate it was embers from a prescribed burn conducted by the Colorado Forest Service which caused the fire, forcing Colorado’s Lt. Governor to sign an executive order to activate state emergency operations plans and bring in the Colorado National Guard.

 With an investigation ongoing, many ponder if the benefits of a controlled burn outweigh the costs?

Benefits of Controlled/Rx Burn:

  • Rx burn techniques which are safely applied can reduce the dangers of fuel buildups that lead to devastating fires
  • The controlled application of fire has been successfully practiced since the 1970s to remove dangerous volatile fuels that naturally accumulate in forests and rangelands.

Costs of Lower North Fork Fire:

  • 3 fatalities
  • 25 homes/structures destroyed

Do we need more education and training on the application of prescribed burns? Do we fully understand the benefits of Rx burning? Are they worth it? Is there a lack in the uniformity of Rx training?

Tell us what you think.  

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