Firefighters plan spring prescribed fires

RBC | The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit (UCR) is preparing to conduct several prescribed burns on White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands in Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties, weather and conditions permitting.
Prescribed burns are implemented to provide benefits to improve habitat for big game and other native wildlife and help clear overcrowded undergrowth that poses a wildfire risk.
Last year, firefighters with the UCR burned more than 4,000 acres of prescribed burn and slash piles on White River National Forest and BLM lands.
“Prescribed burning is a smart way to approach land management and wildlife habitat restoration,” stated Scott Fitzwilliams, forest supervisor. This year’s potential prescribed burn locations in the Blanco District include:
– Aldrich Prescribed Burn, Blanco Ranger District: 15 miles northeast of Meeker, and two miles northeast of Yellowjacket Pass, approximately 700 acres.
– Miller Creek Prescribed Burn, Blanco Ranger District: 12 miles east of Meeker approximately 1,000 acres.
The White River National Forest and the BLM have partnered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on these projects to improve forage regeneration for wildlife. Prescribed burns are targeted to improve large game winter and transition range forage. Nutrient-rich new growth can often be seen sprouting as soon as 10 days after a prescribed fire. A secondary benefit of these projects will be the reduction of fuel loads in the mountain shrub and oak brush vegetation in areas that are overgrown.
Burn plans for prescribed burn activities are prepared and approved months in advance by fuel specialists. Each plan prescribes specific weather and smoke dispersion conditions that must be in place in order to proceed. Prescribed fires may be ignited with the help of helicopters or by hand crews.
The public is reminded: do not call 911 or emergency services even though smoke may be visible. Most of the smoke will dissipate during the day, although some nighttime smoke may remain in valley bottoms as temperatures drop. Any carry-over smoke is expected to be of short term occurrence.
Those who are sensitive to smoke are encouraged to call the White River National Forest Supervisor’s Office or nearby District Office for additional information. For more information on how prescribed fire smoke may affect your health, please visit: www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
For information about prescribed burn activities please call local Forest or BLM offices, follow the White River National Forest on Twitter @WhiteRiverNews, or on Facebook at facebook.com/WhiteRiverNF/.