In 2023, 3,179 acres of National Forest System lands, and 200 acres of private land were treated in the Vallecito-Piedra Prescribed Fire Project. The project is adjacent to the largest subdivision in Southwest Colorado. The project reduced hazardous fuels, wildfire risk, restored ponderosa pine ecosystems, and improved big game wildlife habitat. The V-P project was ignited by unmanned aerial systems (drones), enabling ignition of 1000 acres per day, safer conditions for fire personnel, and significantly reduced prescribed fire treatment costs ($37/acre).

In addition to the prescribed fire project, the Dry Lake wildfire was managed within the Vallecito-Piedra project footprint for another 1,372 acres of fuels reduction. Firefighters discovered the lightning- sparked Dry Lake Fire on July 30, 12 miles northeast of Bayfield, CO. The single tree was burning in a prescribed fire unit that had been first burned in 2019 and was planned for a second prescribed burn in fall, 2023.

Vallecito-Piedra Prescribed Fire Project Videos:

  1. Prescribed Fire Timing for V-P Burn
  2. Putting “Good Fire” on the San Juan National Forest


Dry Lake Fire Article (page 8)