Arthur’s Ditch burned in annual controlled blaze

Stuart Smith

Authorities set fire to Arthur’s Ditch on campus in a controlled burn just before 3 p.m. Wednesday. (Stuart Smith | Collegian)

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 7:33 p.m., Wednesday, April 12, to reflect new information collected by the Collegian.

Authorities set fire to Arthur’s Ditch on campus in a controlled burn just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday.   


The workers that set the burn started near Colorado State University’s weather station and worked south toward the Morgan Library’s parking lot, according to an internal email sent by Public Risk and Public Safety Manager Dell Rae Ciaravola.

As it burned, the fire created large noticeable plumes of white smoke that filled the sky above and around the lagoon as winds blew the smoke north. 

Arthur’s Ditch, named after James B. Arthur, runs between the campus lagoon and the intramural fields. The ditch is run by Arthur Irrigation Company, who has sole control of the ditch.

Fred Haberecht, CSU’s campus planner, received a phone call from the company at around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and was notified that the ditch was going to be burned that day. 

The ditch burning typically happens in the early spring, before the company runs water through the ditch, Haberecht said.

The water will come from the Poudre River, and the ditch acts as a water diversion for when the river gets high enough for the company to have the legal right to take water from it.

Collegian news reporter Stuart Smith can be reached at or on Twitter at @notstuartsmith.