Prescribed burn near Rifle is ready for phase two |

Prescribed burn near Rifle is ready for phase two

Staff ReportGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado – Upper Colorado River Interagency Management Unit firefighters on Tuesday burned 385 acres 13 miles northeast of Rifle in the first phase of the Coulter Mesa Prescribed Fire.The Tuesday fire created a “blackline” on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land to “help contain the larger, helicopter-ignited” phase of the burn expected to occur next week, according to a statement from the BLM. About 1,200 acres of oak brush and mountain brush will be burned in the Coulter Mesa Prescribed Fire.Fire crews will continue monitoring the area for several days and additional small fires may be ignited in preparation for the helicopter work, according to the BLM.The fire is one of several prescribed fires federal fire managers are looking to complete in the area to improve “wildlife habitat and ecosystem health, while reducing fuels for unwanted fires,” the BLM statement said. Federal fire managers only ignite prescribed fires when weather and ground conditions are “within specifically defined parameters that allow for a safe, effective burn.”The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit is composed of the BLM Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction Field Offices; Grand Valley Ranger District of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests; the White River National Forest; and the Colorado National Monument.It encompasses more than 4.5 million acres oriented along the Interstate 70 corridor from the Continental Divide on the east to the Utah state line on the west.

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