If you've lived in Colorado long enough, you've probably heard about, or even seen, what many refer to as controlled burns or prescribed fires. Qualified individuals purposefully light small fires in order to keep wildfire danger down.

However, did you know that there are numerous types of prescribed fires? One of these types of burns is called Pile Burning and will be taking place in certain parts of Colorado over the next few months.

What is Pile Burning and Why Does Colorado Do It?

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According to the United States Department of the Interior, Pile burning is "a prescribed fire used to ignite hand or machine piles of cut vegetation resulting from vegetation or fuel management activities."

These types of controlled burns typically take place when there is some type of precipitation on the ground in order for it to be wet at the time of the fire, and are designed to protect trees and other types of vegetation in the area from catching fire to the point where it could get out of hand.

Ideally, Pile Fires should be set when the environment allows the smoke to rise and disperse, rather than hang around and cause breathing and other health issues to those nearby.

The town of Vail plans to burn certain parts of land owned by the town over the next handful of months, primarily in West Vail and East Vail. Because of the proximity to Interstate 70, Vail Fire and Emergency Services warn that smoke and/or flames may be visible from the highway during times in which these burns are taking place.

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