Prescribed burns continue on Roan Plateau through the weekend |

Prescribed burns continue on Roan Plateau through the weekend

Smoke rises above the Roan Plateau Tuesday evening near Rifle. Crews contine to work on a prescribed burn on the flat tope that began last weekend.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

The Bureau of Land Management, Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit continue to work on completing the prescribed burn near Anvil Points this week by Rifle.

David Boyd, public affairs specialist, said smoke would likely be visible coming from the top of the Roan Plateau, particularly in the afternoon from Rifle and the I-70 corridor between Parachute and Silt. 

Crews started a burn Saturday in an 846-acre section of aspen understory on the Roan Plateau near First and Second Anvil creeks in Garfield County. The burn on Bureau of Land Management-administered land will improve wildlife habitat and promote new aspen growth. 

Crews also planned a burn last Sunday in the U.S. Forest Service Rifle Ranger District 18 miles south of New Castle in eastern Mesa County, but ultimately decided against it. 

“They ended up doing the one up on the Roan Plateau Saturday and Sunday and they are continuing with that the next couple of days, so they didn’t do the one south of New Castle,” Boyd said.

Boyd said land managers are constantly watching the conditions right up until it is time to light, making sure it falls during a window of ideal conditions.

“With a prescribed fire they are burning understory, so they will take a little chunk at a time, so it will not get too much energy built up,” Boyd said.

Fire managers carefully monitor weather and vegetation moisture for optimal conditions that fall within the “prescription” in the detailed burn plans for each area. With the highly variable Colorado autumn weather, windows with ideal condition are rare or may not even occur in a given year.

“Right now they are focusing on the Roan,” Boyd said.

As of Wednesday morning crews had burned 500 acres, and plant to complete another 120 acres.

Boyd said firefighters are burning small sections at a time, and the burning has gone well. “We are burning aspen understory to help generate aspen regrowth.”

As of press time BLM do not have other burns planned at this time, including that burn south of New Castle in the original release. 

Fire managers have developed a detailed prescribed fire plan and obtained smoke permits from the State of Colorado for each planned burn. Please contact Lathan Johnson at 970-640-9165 for additional information. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, visit the Colorado Department of Health’s website.

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