Avalanche Creek prescribed fire continues Wednesday

This photo shows a prescribed burn in Avalanche Creek in 2015. Firefighters patrol the edge of the fire to make sure it stays in the targeted area.
U.S. Forest Service/courtesy photo

With favorable conditions returning Wednesday, firefighters are planning to burn an additional 300 acres at Avalanche Creek seven miles south of Carbondale following Monday’s completion of 313 acres, a U.S. Forest Service news release states. 

Firefighters are conducting the Avalanche Creek Prescribed Fire on White River National Forest lands to reduce dense vegetation and other fuels, which improves wildlife habitat by stimulating new vegetation growth and lowers the risk from large wildfires. 

“We saw excellent results from our efforts Monday, and we want to take advantage of tomorrow’s weather to complete additional acreage,” White River National Forest Fuels Program Manager John Markalunas said in the release. 

On Monday, firefighters used a combination of aerial ignition from a helicopter and ground ignition from hand crews. Tomorrow’s burn will be mostly ignited by hand crews with the possibility of assistance from an unmanned aircraft system. 

The Avalanche Creek Prescribed Fire is a coordinated effort funded in part by Pitkin County and the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District. 

Firefighters are closely monitoring conditions and will only ignite the fire if conditions are good for a safe, effective burn and good smoke dispersal to minimize smoke impacts to surrounding communities, officials said.

Smoke may be seen from Carbondale, Basalt and El Jebel. Smoke should dissipate during the day but may remain on the valley floors as temperatures drop. 

Firefighters also completed 725 acres at the Collins Creek Prescribed Fire north of Aspen on Sunday.

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