Winds bring halt to controlled forest burn |

Winds bring halt to controlled forest burn

Carrie Click
Post Independent Staff

RIFLE ” Federal fire crews planned to curtail a controlled burn southwest of Rifle for a few days until weather conditions improve.

Wildland firefighters started what’s called the Cache Creek Burn a couple weeks ago, according to Frankie Romero, fire management officer at Rifle’s inter-agency fire office.

The fire office is responsible for wildfire management on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service land.

“Initially, they blacklined it, which means they burned around the perimeter,” Romero said.

The planned burn area covers a total of 1,000 acres. It is on Cache Creek south of Rulison, between Spruce Creek and Doghead Mountain, about three miles south of Interstate 70.

On Monday and Tuesday, crews started burning the area inside the blackline, but they had to stop burning late Tuesday afternoon because of changing winds coming out of the south, said Romero.

“We’ve completed about 80 percent of the burn,” Romero said.

Romero explained the burn was ordered to alleviate hazardous fuels and improve wildlife habitat in the area.

“The area has a lot of older brush and vegetation that wildlife aren’t utilizing,” Romero said. “A lot of the old-timers around here we talked to tell us they’ve never seen a fire in the burn area.

“We’re working to rejuvenate the vegetation and create some growth for wild turkey and big game habitat,” he added.

Romero said once the weather cooperates, crews will complete the final 20 percent of the burn.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

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