Prescribed fire planned for Aldrich Lakes

MEEKER | If the weather presents an opportunity in the next few weeks, the White River National Forest’s Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit and partners Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Craig and Meeker chapters of the Habitat Partnership Program and private landowners will initiate a long planned prescribed fire in the Aldrich Lakes area. The site for the 1,200 acre prescribed fire is approximately 19 miles northeast of Meeker and 19 miles south of Craig on the White River National Forest in Rio Blanco County. The burn is expected to be accomplished in two to three days. It will only be ignited if conditions are safe and if it can be completed between the dates of Oct. 4-14 to accommodate hunters for the first rifle season. The prescribed fire will reduce the large accumulation of fuel and debris that has developed due to past suppression efforts in the area; this in turn reduces the likelihood of a wildfire in the area, and also stimulates new and more nutritious forage for improved wildlife habitat. Toni Toelle, Zone Fuels Specialist for the White River National Forest, says this burn is a follow up to a previous treatment: “Burning will help to clean up the old mechanically treated fuels and stimulate a mosaic pattern of new growth in the mixed mountain shrub species.” This project is part of a larger, landscape scale treatment effort in the Milk Creek drainage. To date, approximately 3,500 acres have been effectively treated. Smoke from prescribed fire may affect your health. If you have a health condition that may be impacted by short durations of smoke, please contact Toni Toelle at 970-274-2043. For more information, visit www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.