Feds plan prescribed burn Thursday on Red Table Mountain

Authorities tell public to expect smoke northeast of El Jebel and don’t panic

Staff report

Federal fire officials hope to ignite a prescribed fire on Red Table Mountain on Thursday and are asking people to be prepared to see smoke and not be alarmed.

The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit plans to start the fire 9 miles northeast of El Jebel and 9 miles southwest of Gypsum. It is labeled the Cattle Creek Prescribed Fire.

“Firefighters plan to burn up to 1,500 acres 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 of large wildfires,” the White River National Forest said in a news release.

The targeted area is above 7,500 feet in elevation and bordered by snow that will be used as part of the perimeter. Firefighters will use helicopters to ignite small, manageable sections of the burn area. Firefighters will also be positioned on the ground to help manage the fire.

“Potentially large amounts of smoke may be visible, particularly in the early afternoon,” the Forest Service statement said. “Most smoke should transport out of the area with the forecasted westerly transport winds.”

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