Forest Service, BLM announce burn areas
The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management announced four prescribed burn areas for the region Thursday, to occur in Garfield County near Rifle and Silt, and upvalley near Basalt and Redstone.
“Now is the time to prepare for next wildfire season and continue to be persistent and focused on hazardous fuels reduction across the landscape,” Scott Fitzwilliams, U.S. National Forest supervisor for White River said in a statement. “Prescribed burning is a cost-effective way to get this important work completed; in addition, low intensity fire provides benefits for wildlife habitat.”
The four burn areas will cover around 5,600 acres this season once the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit (UCR) completes the prescribed burns. Last year, UCR completed controlled burns on 5,700 acres.
The burns begin only if weather and other conditions are acceptable to the fire crews. “We will only ignite these prescribed fires if conditions are ideal for safe, effective burns, as well as for good smoke dispersal away from nearby communities,” said Lathan Johnson, UCR fuels specialist.
Smoke may be visible from the road and from nearby communities. Though smoke is supposed to dissipate during the day, as temperatures drop the smoke sinks to the valley floor.
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The Forest Service plans to replace the Carbondale Aspen-Sopris ranger district station with a newer, larger facility.