Wild land fire managers plan spring prescribed burns | PostIndependent.com

Wild land fire managers plan spring prescribed burns

Contributed report
Fire crews from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit light strips of flames in Avalanche Creek last April as part of a prescribed burn.
Ryan Summerlin/Post Independent

Federal fire officials from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit West Zone are hoping conditions will be ideal in the next several weeks to complete two prescribed fires on Bureau of Land Management public lands in Mesa and western Garfield counties.

Prescribed fires reduce dense vegetation and other fuels to lower the risk of large wildfires and stimulate new vegetation growth that benefits wildlife.

Firefighters are planning the following burns to reduce natural fuels and improve wildlife habitat:

– The 370-acre Horse Pasture Draw prescribed burn approximately 22 miles north of Loma in Garfield County

– The 200-acre Nick/Bald Mountain prescribed burn nine miles south of Molina

Fire managers have developed a detailed prescribed fire plan and obtained smoke permits from state of Colorado for each of the planned burns. Residents may observe smoke during these burns.

“We will only ignite these prescribed fires if conditions are ideal for a safe, effective burn, as well as for good smoke dispersal away from area communities,” said Jeff Phillips, fire management specialist with the Upper Colorado River Fire Unit. “We evaluate weather, moisture and fuel conditions before deciding whether to proceed, and human safety is always our top priority.”

The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit (UCR) includes BLM and U.S. Forest Service firefighting resources that cover 5.8 million acres along the Interstate 70, Colorado River and Roaring Fork River corridors from the Continental Divide to the Utah state line. The UCR includes the White River National Forest and the BLM’s Colorado River Valley and Grand Junction field offices. The UCR cooperates with other federal and state agencies, local communities, and fire departments on a wide range of activities including fuels treatments, fire prevention, and suppression.