Selfies: Fighting fire with fire to prevent future devastation
Prescribed burns are well underway throughout the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys. Last Thursday and Friday the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit (UCR) began to tackle a prescribed burn on Uncle Bob Mountain south of Silt. The burn plan included 1,400 acres of BLM land and 1,300 acres of Forest Service land to reduce dense vegetation and other fuels to lower the risk of large wildfires and stimulate new vegetation growth that benefits wildlife. “By us excluding fire too much, we are actually doing more harm. By reintroducing fire with these prescribed burns we’re making the forest more resilient,” said UCR Fire Management Specialist Lathan Johnson. Crews on the ground used drip torches to create a black line burn outlining the 2,700-acre unit that was selected to be intentionally burnt for the purpose of potentially preventing an out-of-control fire in the upcoming fire season.
Prescribed burns go well beyond simply picking a spot to burn and lighting up the landscape. Months, sometimes years, of planning go into creating a burn plan for a designated area. Fire fighters preplan with scientists and biologists to create an area specific burn plan. Multiple factors, including vegetation, landscape, cloud coverage, rain, wind, humidity and control features are considered when conducing a burn. “We use a lot of science going into this, we’ve been out here taking fuel samples, there’s been a weather station out here,” said Johnson. “We’ve really been monitoring it closely and we worked with the weather service to get really good forecasts.”
All photos and video by PI staff photographer Chelsea Self.
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