Prescribed burn planned near Glenwood in coming days | PostIndependent.com

Prescribed burn planned near Glenwood in coming days

This photo shows a prescribed burn in Avalanche Creek in 2015. Firefighters patrol the edge of the fire to make sure it stays in the targeted area.
U.S. Forest Service/courtesy photo

Glenwood Springs may see smoke from prescribed burns at French Creek in the next few days, if weather conditions are favorable, the U.S. Forest Service said in a press release.

The prescribed burn area is in north of Interstate 70 above Glenwood Canyon, six miles west of Dotsero in east Garfield County.

Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit plans to conduct the controlled burns on up to 2,000 acres of mountain shrub and Gambel oak to benefit wildlife habitat, with funding and support from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The goal is to reduce hazardous fuels and improve habitat by opening dense stands of oak and brush and stimulating the growth of more nutrient-rich forage for big game.

“Wildlife benefits from carefully planned prescribed burning can be substantial, especially to elk and deer, which use Gambel oak for cover and browse to survive the winter months,” Jennifer Prusse, Eagle-Holy Cross District Wildlife Biologist, said in a statement.

Smoke may be visible from Interstate 70 near Dotsero, Gypsum and Eagle in Eagle County, and from Glenwood Springs and Carbondale in Garfield County.

Fire crews wait until certain conditions exist before conducting the operations, including favorable wind, correct temperature, fuel moisture, and anticipated smoke dispersal.

Most of the smoke is expected to dissipate during the day, although some nighttime smoke may remain in valley bottoms as temperatures drop.

Public and firefighter safety is always the highest priority during firing operations, and prescribed burns will only be conducted if it is safe to do so.

A helicopter will be used for aerial ignitions, staged from the vicinity of Colorado River Road north of Dotsero when burning operations occur, so the Forest Service asks that no drones or other aerial vehicles fly in the area during their operations.

The Forest Service also requests that people not to call 911 to report the smoke in the area, and to drive slowly and exercise caution when traveling through this area.


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