Land Magement & Conservation

High severity wildfires can profoundly affect soils and the natural ecosystem. Rehabilitation treatments aid in restabilizing the soil, which reduces erosion and combats invasion of non-native species. Following a sever fire, like the Waldo Canyon Wildfire of 2012, the vegetation that was burned away can reduce infiltration of water. This means that storms and melting snow can lead to landslides, and the sediment that was previously held by vegetation will erode downhill. 

 Below are a few management techniques that are used by Flying W Ranch Foundation staff to assist our efforts in mitigation of the land following the wildfire. 



Stabilizing banks where water runs freely. If these channels are not fixed, there would be continued erosion whcih would increase the risk of severe flooding downstream. One way to deal with erosion is by placing erosion control structures to stabilize the channel from erosion. Channel bed stabilization provides a hardpoint to resist erosion.

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High-severity wildfi res can profoundly affect soils and plant communities, thus requiring emergency rehabilitation treatments such as post-fi re seeding. Intended to stabilize soils, reduce erosion, and combat non-native species invasions. Loss of vegetation leads to erosion and sedimentation, which can degrade habitat and impair forest regeneration. Seeding helps to re-establish permanent vegetation to help with long-term erosion control, restore lost habitat, and suppress invasive plants and weeds. 

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Mulching areas that have been seeded helps to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, and increase soil fertility. Mulching is another step in erosion control and establishing an environment where seed can flourish. As the seed has some protection from the elements, it is able to grow and re-establish a root system for stability in the area. 

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Log Erosion Barriers (LEB) are installed in the hillside to intercept water runing down a slope and trap sediment. LEBs increase inflitration of water, help to reduce erosion, and retain small amounts of eroded sediment to keep it from eroding further downhill. Installation of LEBs helps to stabilize the hillside to provide an opportunity for permanent vegetation to be established. Spacing of the LEBs is determined by the grade of the slope as well as the area they are installed in. For example, more LEBs are installed in drainages and headcuts because there is no vegetation on the uphill slope. 

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Noxious weeds are weeds that have been designated as injurous to agricultural crops, natural habitats and ecosystems, or livestock. Noxious weeds are non-native species, typically, that grow aggressively, multiply quickly, and affect the natural habitat. Some noxious weeds can be poisonous to livestock and some are injurous to humans. These weeds take the resources, such as water and nutrients in the soil, from native species and can hinder the re-establishment of grasses and plants. 

Our main focus on the Flying W Ranch property is:

-Yellow Toad Flax


-Canada Thistle

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 Woody residue treatment is used when land has undesired woody material that, if left alone, creates hazardous conditions. 

Woody residue treatments include lopping and scattering, piling and burning, crushing, chipping, and broadcast burning.

*Lopping and scattering is cutting off limbs, branches, and small trees into lengths that will remain close to the ground, and then scattering the lopped material. This method allows material to be spread more evenly, and as it is close to the ground it will decompose faster. 

*Piling and burning is putting the cut material into piles which can then be safely burned. Burning must comply with specifications that includes minimal heat damage to residual trees, their roots, and the underlying soil. If the material is piled and not burned, it can serve as habitat and nesting for wildlife. 

 *Crushing breaks the cut material and compresses it so that the material is closer to the ground. As with lopping and scattering, the closer the material is to the ground, the quicker it will decompose. In addition to quicker decomposition, the closer the cut material is to the ground, the less chance there is for fire to reach into the canopy layers of trees. 

*Chipping puts the cut limbs, branches, and small to medium trees through a machine that chips the material into much smaller pieces. Chips can be used as mulch, or the size of the chips cut can be changed based on the needs of the area. 

*Broadcast burning burnes slash by prescribed fire to a specific point that in turn minimizes the risk of wildfire. As with piling and burning, broadcast burning must meet specific requirements such as minimizing heat damage to residual tress, their roots, and the soil. Broadcast burning is best in areas without residual trees or areas that have very few trees to minimize risk. 

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 Glossary of Terms

Wildland Fire Chainsaw Glossary of Terms


National Resources Conservation Service

El Paso County Environmental Division

Noxious Weeds and Control Methods

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