Forest Service seeks input on fuels mitigation plan | PostIndependent.com

Forest Service seeks input on fuels mitigation plan

The Crystal River flows just north of Redstone, with Chair Mountain in the background. A 39-mile reach of the Crystal from high in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness to the Avalanche Creek area north of Redstone is being studied for possible federal Wild and Scenic designation.
Christopher Mullen / Post Independent |

The White River National Forest’s Aspen-Sopris Ranger District is looking to conduct fuels mitigation in Gunnison and Pitkin counties in the Crystal River Wildland Urban Interface and is opening the project to public comment until March 5 before moving forward.

WUI areas are where communities and human development are adjacent to forest land, the Forest Service explains.

The agency proposes to utilize mechanical treatment methods to reduce hazardous fuels on 156.6 acres in the WUI and utilize prescribed fire on 115 acres of national forest system land, according to the press release.

Mechanical fuels treatments may include hand cutting vegetation with a chainsaw, hand cutting with a brush cutter, or mulching/crushing vegetation with heavy equipment.

Fuels may be cut and scattered, chipped and scattered, chipped and removed, or piled and burned. For more information and a map of the proposed treatment areas, visit the project website: goo.gl/upFXLZ.

“This project will reduce hazardous fuels and create and maintain more defensible space adjacent to several Crystal River subdivisions and the Nettle Creek Water Treatment Facility, decreasing safety risks to the public and firefighters,” said District Ranger Karen Schroyer in the press release. “I also encourage homeowners to implement Firewise protections on their homes and private property to reduce the threat of homes becoming fuel for future wildfires. The responsibility belongs to all of us.”

The goal of this project is to reduce fuel-loading in critical forest areas adjacent to communities, states the press release. The Crystal River corridor is one of many places on the White River National Forest where homes have been built within and adjacent to fire-dependent ecosystems, comprised of mountain-brush fuel types, according to the release.

“Projects such as this target critical areas to reduce the threat of future wildfire to private property and other infrastructure, while simultaneously providing fuel breaks from which firefighters can safely conduct operations.”

HOW TO COMMENT

Submit written, facsimile, hand-delivered, and electronic comments concerning this action by March 5 and reference Crystal River Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Fuels Reduction Project. Written comments must be submitted to: Karen Schroyer, District Ranger, c/o Jim Genung, Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, 620 Main St, Carbondale, CO 81623. The office business hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments are: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Electronic comments including attachments can be submitted to: goo.gl/QLBYN7.

Persons commenting should include: 1. Name, address, telephone number, organization represented, if any; 2. Name of the proposal on which the comment is being submitted; and 3. Specific facts and supporting reasons for consideration.

For more information about these projects, contact Project Manager Jim Genung, at 970-404-3150.


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