Basalt Mountain burn continues 2 more days |

Basalt Mountain burn continues 2 more days

A prescribed burn was scheduled to continue through Friday on the northwest flank of Basalt Mountain, roughly 5 miles north of El Jebel on National Forest lands adjacent to Forest Service Road 524, also known as Basalt Mountain Road.

Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management crews and partners on Wednesday began igniting up to 162 acres of mountain shrub and aspen vegetation.

Approximately 25 people and three engines will be involved in the burn and monitoring it.

Smoke may be visible around the Roaring Fork Valley during burn operations. The public is asked to not call emergency services.

The project is intended to promote nutrient recycling of fire-adapted vegetation, provide an improved food source for wildlife and create habitat conditions that will encourage wintering deer and elk to stay in the area rather than move onto lower elevation private land where they may become a nuisance.

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“Using fire is a cost-effective way to stimulate growth of winter browse for big game, manage shrub cover for native wildlife and help regenerate aspen stands that have become decadent and in decline,” said Phil Nyland, Forest Service district wildlife biologist. A secondary benefit of the project will be the reduction of fuel loads in the mountain shrub and aspen vegetation adjacent to homes in the Missouri Heights area.

“This project is part of a large-scale effort being conducted over a 10-year period in partnership between the Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to improve habitat for elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep and other native wildlife across some 45,000 acres on White River National Forest,” said Karen Schroyer, Aspen-Sopris district ranger.

Those interested can watch the operations from the Basalt Mountain trailhead parking area. Forest Service Road 509 will remain open. Forest Service Road 524 and the prescribed burn area will be closed for public and firefighter safety.

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