ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4)– All the heavy, wet snow that fell in Northern Colorado is a welcome sight not only for the delay in the state’s severe drought conditions but because it allowed for the burning of slash piles.

Fire could be heard crackling in the forest of Rocky Mountain National Park on Thursday.

Doug Watry works for the park. He said he and his crew have not been allowed to burn slash piles at all this winter. Slash piles typically consist of dead and fallen trees, large piles of pine needles and brush.

“Projects like these help protect our neighbors,” said Watry. “Gets rid of the fuels and allows us to manage wild land fires.”

The burn projects around the park were put on hold until Mother Nature delivered a late season gift: more than three feet of snow.

The storm was a big boost to park employees who wanted to lessen the threat of wildfires by getting rid of that dry fuel on the forest floor.

“We have a lot of material to dispose of in a very small space. So by having snow in the trees, snow coming down in the snowstorm we’re able to burn these piles with minimum tree scorch,” said Watry.

Because the park got such a late start to the burning season there are about 1,000 slash piles that will remain unburned this season.


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