Crews will burn brush above El Jebel in the next few weeks |

Crews will burn brush above El Jebel in the next few weeks

Smoke may be visible north of El Jebel in the coming weeks as crews from Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management begin burning slash piles generated from a Bureau of Land Management fuels reduction project.

Firefighters from the Upper Colorado Unit will burn piles when weather conditions are favorable to lift smoke out of the area and moisture in adjacent vegetation is at acceptable levels to prevent spread.

“We have about 700 piles remaining to burn, which should take from three to five days,” said BLM Fuels Specialist Rusty Stark. “We’ve burned more than 1,000 piles in this area over the past two winters.”

Crews thinned pinyon pine and juniper trees near the Catherine Store Road (County Road 100) and Panorama Drive (CR 170) in 2012 to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires entering private property from BLM land. The resulting slash piles were piled to cure so they could be effectively burned at a later date.

Reducing the continuous stands of brush and forest helps reduce the wildfire threat as well as improve firefighter and public safety. The work stimulates new growth of grasses, forbs and shrubs that greatly enhances wildlife habitat.

Smoke from the Panorama area may be seen for short periods from Carbondale, El Jebel and Basalt. Some drift smoke could affect homeowners for a short period of time.

The piles will be burned under the authority of an approved burn plan and smoke permit. Anyone with health conditions who may be affected by short durations of smoke should contact the Colorado River Valley Field Office at (970) 876-9000. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, see

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