While we are getting pounded with snow and rain throughout the state (happy, happy, joy, joy!), what better thing to do on a dreary Friday night than hunt burn morels… online. Yep, you heard me right – I said online! And no, I’m not talking about perusing Facebook mushroom group photos either. Part of the reason we have been so successful at finding burn morels year after year is that we spend way too much time studying burn maps, terrain and weather. With last year’s fires and a huge snowpack this winter, I predict 2019 will be a big year for Colorado burn morel hunting! In this post, I’m going to give some big love to my home state and show you exactly, how we do it. Get comfy, let’s geek out on some burn maps.
One very specific burn map to be precise – The Silver Creek Fire, which is almost equidistant from Toponas, Kremling and Steamboat Springs. This is a fire you will be able to hunt in 2019, it is on Trent’s “A” list, meaning he has marked it as a top CO burn. Although a large burn, I’m going to call this a sleeper Colorado fire because the burn data is technically tagged as a Wyoming fire. The fire was fought by firefighters from all over the country, including CO, but managed out of the Laramie office so it was classified in the database as a WY fire (WYMRF-000312). Thank you to the Forest Service for clarification! And I don’t even have the words to properly thank all the firefighters out there who work tirelessly to keep us safe every fire season. Last season hit close to home, I appreciate you all.
Trent spends a month every winter compiling and curating burn map data for 11 states, one being Colorado. We sell access to the maps each year along with our Burn Morels ebook. The maps shown below are what you can expect to get if you purchase the product ($25 for CO or $39 for all 11 states). The real version is interactive (sample at very bottom) so you can zoom in and out all around the state. Enough about that. Let’s dig in.
First a few discussion points about hunting burn morels:
A Note on Permitting
This fire spans two National Forests – Arapahoe/Roosevelt and Medicine Bow-Routt. If you plan to hunt in both sections you will need forest product permits from both National Forests. Every forest has different rules, please pay close attention. I would recommend calling to find out which Ranger Station can issue you a permit before just showing up, also note they are closed on weekends.
Forest Service websites can be somewhat confusing but you’ll find more information about permitting and Ranger Station info here:
Thus to do our online burn morel hunt we are going to need a few types of maps. At a minimum we’ll need topographic and satellite maps so we can study elevation, aspect and tree coverage. It would also be helpful to see land types and road access too. I don’t know about you, but I prefer fairly easy accessibility so road access is important.
I chose this fire because it’s on Trent’s top 10 list, but it’s interesting for several reasons:
Let’s take a look. This is our base topo map – the red line is the burn perimeter and the yellowish shaded region is the burn. I’m zoomed in here to the skinny bottom part of the fire which is an East facing slope that ranges in elevation from about 9000′ to 9600′. This is likely a later season fire, late June and likely even into July with all this snowpack. You’ll also see several creek gullys running down toward Red Dirt Creek. Morels like moisture – these gullys (if treed) will be prime territory to check out.
Click the images for a larger view!
That gray shaded area below shows private land boundaries – definitely avoid.
A few other things you might want to know about burn morels:
Bonus! Trent has created an interactive map of the CO Silver Creek Fire just for this blog post. Now you can see exactly how our maps work. The blog post interface is quite small so please click on the frame icon at top right in the map to expand to full screen and really dig in. Try out the different base maps by changing tabs at the top left. ESC key will bring you out of full screen mode. Enjoy!
Here’s a link to our morel hunting burn maps and e-book if you are curious to learn more.
What do you think, has it been a successful online hunt? If I were to get in the car right now and head to this burn, I know right where I would go – do you?
Happy hunting Colorado foragers, Spring will show its face soon!
Questions or comments? Please let us know.
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