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RBC I Federal fire officials on the Blanco Ranger District of the White River National Forest are planning an 800-acre prescribed fire this fall on National Forest lands near Aldrich Lakes and adjoining private lands in Rio Blanco County, approximately 19 miles northeast of Meeker.
The prescribed fire is planned to improve wildlife habitat and decrease the amount of fuel that has built up in the area by targeting oak brush and mountain shrubs.
The fire will improve wildlife habitat by stimulating new and more nutritious plant production in the burned area, officials said. They expect the fire pattern will leave a patchwork of burned and unburned areas, providing wildlife with better areas to feed and also provide areas of unburned vegetation that is important hiding cover. Fire has been absent from this area for a number of years, resulting in a large build-up of fuel. This burn will decrease that fuel load, helping reduce the risk of a much larger, unwanted wildfire.
The burn could take place as early as mid-September, depending on weather, but could take place as late as mid-October. The burn will only be initiated if conditions are ideal for a safe and effective fire, and the necessary personnel are available to manage the fire. A detailed fire plan for this burn has been developed in advance, and appropriate smoke permits have been obtained from the state.
The prescribed fire is in partnership with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, local Craig and Meeker chapters of the Habitat Partnership Program, and local private landowners.
For more information, contact the Blanco Ranger District office at 878-4039.