Partners to continue prescribed burning at Avalanche Creek and Battlements for habitat improvement

Release Date: Apr 6, 2017  

Media Contact(s) for Avalanche: Kate Jerman, 970-948-1894 (cell) + Jim Genung, 970-963-2266 (office) 

Partners to continue prescribed burning at Avalanche Creek for habitat improvement

REDSTONE, Colo.— (April 6, 2017)- Pending favorable weather conditions, the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit (UCR) crews and partners will conduct prescribed fire operations at the end of this week on National Forest System lands at Avalanche Creek and east of Filoha Meadows; roughly 9 miles south of Carbondale and east of State Highway 133. Up to 500 acres of mountain shrub, pinyon juniper, and aspen vegetation are planned to be ignited by hand this spring when conditions and weather are right. Operations will be conducted over 3-5 days.

The intent of the project is to create improved habitat conditions for wintering Bighorn sheep, deer and elk and promote the growth of nutrient-rich forage. A secondary benefit of the project will be the reduction of fuel loads in the mountain shrub and aspen vegetation adjacent to homes in the Swiss Village and Filoha Meadows areas.

“This will be the third year we will conduct prescribed fire activities in the Avalanche Creek and Filoha Meadows area,” stated Phil Nyland, Forest Service wildlife biologist. “Since beginning, we have seen positive regrowth of grasses, shrubs, and aspen which are critical to the winter forage and habitat in this area for Bighorn sheep, deer and elk.”

The Avalanche-Filoha prescribed burn project is part of a large-scale effort between partners to improve habitat for big game and other native wildlife across 45,000 acres on the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District. Other prescribed fire projects under this effort have occurred at Basalt Mountain, and are planned in the future near Cattle Creek, Collins Creek, and Braderich Creek.

Prescribed burns are implemented in accordance with a written burn plan that prescribes specific weather and smoke dispersion conditions to exist before crews are able to proceed. Crews are responsible for igniting vegetation, monitoring control and spread of fire and smoke, ensuring fire is held by control features and monitoring fire behavior. Approximately 10-20 firefighters, and 3-5 engines will be used to assist in the operation

Burn operations will only proceed if the weather and timing is right and the burn can be conducted safely and effectively.

“This project wouldn’t be possible without the support of partners like Pitkin County and Colorado Parks and Wildlife,” stated Karen Schroyer, District Ranger. “These partners are committed, as we are, to introducing fire back into the landscape to improve habitat in the area for the long-run.”

Since planning for this project began, local landowners, homeowner’s associations and the local Crystal River Caucus have supported the burn plan. The public is reminded: Do not call 911 or emergency services even though smoke may be visible from various locations along the Highway 133 corridor. 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 short-term.

Prescribed fire smoke may potentially affect your health. For more information, please visit: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.

Additional information regarding this project and the objectives of the work is available at the Forest Service office at 620 Main St., Carbondale, by calling 970-943-3271 or by following @WhiteRiverNews on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Battlements prescribed burn scheduled for wildlife habitat improvement and hazard fuel reduction

Contact(s): Sarah Hankens, 970-625-6840 or Lynn Lockwood, 970-208-2521

Parachute, Colo. –  April 6, 2017 - Pending favorable weather conditions,  the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management (UCR) crews and partners will conduct a prescribed burn on the north aspect of Battlement Mesa, roughly 7 miles from Parachute, on National Forest System lands near Garfield County Road 306. The prescribed burn is expected to occur at the end of the week. 

Up to 1,500 acres of pinyon and juniper trees, as well as some gambel oak and mountain shrub species, will be ignited aerially. Smoke impacts on surrounding communities are not anticipated. Hand crews will be on stand by for support.

The intent of the project is to promote nutrient recycling of fire-adapted vegetation communities, to provide an improved food source for wildlife, and to create improved winter habitat conditions for wintering deer and elk. A secondary benefit of the project will be reduction of fuel loads in the mountain shrub vegetation across the project area.

This project is part of a large-scale effort being conducted over a 5 to 10 year period in partnership between the Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Forest Foundation and other partners to improve habitat for Bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and other native wildlife across approximately 115,000 acres on the White River National Forest.

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. 

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. Those who are sensitive to smoke are encouraged to call the Rifle Ranger District Office for additional information. For more information on how prescribed fire smoke may affect your health, please visit: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health  .

Information regarding this project is available at the Rifle Ranger District office at 0094 County Road 244, Rifle, CO.,  by calling 970-625-2371 or by following @WhiteRiverNews on Twitter or Facebook.

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