Well guys this is the article I have been dreading. Time to give you guys some bad news. I keep getting the same question. When will we burn the pit? Well, as of now we will not be burning the pit this year. It takes several months for it to burn and we just did not get the snow fall we needed this season. It is a hard decision for everyone involved, but the right thing to do under the circumstances. Now for the people who will say we had one or two snows that were sufficient. Yes, those two snows would have been enough snow, but we had extreme winds with both of those storms. In fact, the wind was so bad it literally closed parts of the ranch! Just ask the folks on Wagon Wheel. When the wind would finally stop the snow would be gone.
The homes around Lariat Loop are a huge risk every time it is lit. We will not risk someone’s home and life to burn the pit. Would you want it lit if you were in a direct wind path and could see dirt and grass on your lot? Probably not. Once again this is not an easy decision and we still could get a calm late storm, but I would not bank on it at this point. The Ranch works in partnership with Hartsel Fire to determine when it is safe to light the pit. If Chief Tingle says it is not safe, we are not in a position to override his opinion. While it affects Ranch homes and property, it greatly affects surrounding neighbors. Our legal liability extends beyond the ranch properties. Embers, not just ash, from the Weston Pass fire were detected as far away as Hartsel. Thankfully, we did not start that fire. We will continue to try right up until the last snowfall, with Ranch safety as the number one priority.
Lastly, I would like to point out that this does not keep us from mitigating this year. Keep track of your hours and turn them in to Niki Griffin or I. You can pile your slash in the easement and your neighbors needing wood can collect it from there. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, it just may not be as convenient this year. Thank you all for your understanding, and as always best wishes.