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Wildfire Mitigation at NCAR's Mesa Lab

Project Complete. Thank you for your patience while wildfire risk mitigation forestry was in progress.


NCAR’s Mesa Lab, with its spectacular perch on 450 acres of forested land above town, is located in an area vulnerable to wildfire. After decades of fire suppression, forest cover on the mesa had become substantially denser than the historic forest.

In fall 2011, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages NCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation, owner of the Mesa Lab property, began a two-year program to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and improve the mesa forest and grassland ecosystem. 
(Read more about NCAR and UCARNSF, or public access to NCAR's mesa campus and trails.)

  • Phase I (fall 2011) – forest thinning and the removal of dead, dying, and diseased trees around NCAR’s Mesa Lab and Fleischmann Building.
  • Phase II (spring-autumn 2012) – additional forest thinning (units 1C, 2 and 2A). A prescribed grassland fire was planned but due to unfavorable conditions was postponed indefinitely.

Stay informed

  • Sign up to receive the latest updates via email.
  • Follow us on Twitter @AtmosNews for alerts with the hashtags #Boulder.
  • News affecting public access to NCAR, the Mesa Road, and/or hiking trails will be posted on our Emergency and Closure Information page. We will also advise the local media of any access issues.
  • Signs at trailheads will advise if a trail is closed.

Learn more 
Project map and timeline 
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 
Healthy forest management 
Boulder County wildfire protection plan

For more information, contact:

Rachael Drummond, NCAR/UCAR Public Affairs Manager
303-497-8604

Matt McMullen, Director, Facilities Management & Sustainability 
303-497-2060

Last updated on May 6, 2013 - 1:50pm.
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