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More Park City slash pile burning planned through weekend

The process of pile burning in Park City.
Park City
The process of pile burning in Park City.

Slash pile burning in Park City will continue through Monday, Dec. 4, weather permitting.

Professional wildfire mitigation contractors from Alpine Forestry will burn piles on the Treasure Hill Open Space and in the Pinebrook area.

Park City said smoke will be visible and has asked residents not to report it. Some trails in the area may be closed as a safety precaution.

Park City’s Trails and Open Space Manager Heinrich Deters said this bout of burning will take two to three days, depending on if the conditions are good.

“What that means is that the smoke doesn't labor low in the community, it basically just extends high up into the atmosphere and disperses,” he said.

There are about 1,500 piles to burn throughout Treasure Hill. Deters said the first round that started on Nov. 15 burned about 400 piles. This time they hope to burn 200 piles a day.

The Treasure Hill Treatment Area. It has about 1,500 piles to burn.
Park City
The Treasure Hill Treatment Area. It has about 1,500 piles to burn.

Deters said pile burning is essentially the second step in the fire mitigation process. The first step is to identify areas with high wildfire danger.

“A lot of that danger has to do with fuel,” Deters said. “So, in this type, it's vegetation, dead, just overgrown, etc., that should a wildfire move into an area, it would be very, very difficult to control.”

After thinning out the dead and overgrown vegetation, he said there are a couple of options. The material could be physically removed from the area, turned into wood chips or pile burned. Deters said pile burning is best for this area.

“There's areas where we can't get to with like trucks or infrastructure or chippers and be probably more damage to the actual property and environment,” he said. “So, it's a very cost-effective and efficient way to fully remove those fuels from the landscape because they're burnt, and then they're gone.”

Since Park City is constructing buildings further into wildland areas, Deters said taking these steps to prevent wildfires is crucial.

And although pile burning is somewhat new to the city, it's common across the state and the country.