BLM announces prescribed burn plans for region
Fire crews are preparing to conduct prescribed burns to mitigate fire risk in Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties, if weather and other conditions are favorable, the Bureau of Land Management announced Friday.
Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit (UCR) will conduct the burns on public BLM and White River National Forest Lands in the coming months.
Last year, crews completed 6,000 acres of prescribed burns across BLM and White River National Forest lands, including initial work on the Cattle Creek prescribed burn units, West Divide prescribed burn units and the Miller Creek prescribed burn.
“As an interagency unit, we continue to collectively focus on areas where we can reduce fuel loading and improve wildlife habitat,” Deputy White River Forest Supervisor Lisa Stoeffler said in a statement. “Prescribed burning is a cost-effective and efficient way to target these areas for long-term benefits.”
“Prescribed fires are an important tool land managers can use to create fuel breaks that can make fire suppression efforts more effective and reduce risk to firefighters and nearby communities,” said Larry Sandoval, field manager for the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office.
“We will only ignite these prescribed fires if conditions are conducive for safe, effective burns, as well as for good smoke dispersal away from nearby communities,” UCR Fuels Specialist Lathan Johnson said.
Land managers conduct prescribed fires to improve habitat for big game and other native wildlife, and reduce fuels to lesson potential growth and severity of future wildfires. During a prescribed burn, low-intensity fire consumes overgrown fuels while promoting suckering and sprouting of nutrient-rich vegetation. This year’s potential prescribed burn locations include:
Garfield County burn areas
• Grizzly Creek Prescribed Burn: 1 mile northwest of the Grizzly Creek trailhead/Interstate-70 in Glenwood Canyon, 521 acres.
• French Creek Prescribed Burn: 2.5 miles south and southeast of the Deep Creek Overlook north of Glenwood Canyon, up to 2,000 acres.
• Cherry Creek Prescribed Burn: 7 miles north of Silt, up to 1,154 acres.
• West Divide Prescribed Burn: 14 miles south of Silt, up to 727 acres.
Pitkin and Eagle county burn areas
• Braderich Creek Prescribed Burn: 14 miles south/southwest of Carbondale, 2.5 miles west of Redstone, up to 2,000 acres.
• Cattle Creek Prescribed Burn: 7 miles north of Basalt, northeast of Highway 82, up to 1,500 acres.
• Sheep Gulch Prescribed Burn: 4 miles northwest of Gypsum, up to 287 acres.
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Garfield County gave another financial boost to the Aspen Valley Land Trust’s efforts to secure a 141-acre Carbondale-area ranch that would maintain its agricultural use and preserve natural riverfront habitat.