The Bureau of Land Management’s Tres Rios Field Office plans a prescribed burn in the West Rim Pines fuels treatment project area, seven miles northeast of Dove Creek, beginning as early as next week, or as conditions allow.
The objectives of the prescribed burn are to reduce hazardous fuels, protect wildland urban interface communities, and improve range conditions and big game and sage grouse habitat. The burn also will reintroduce fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem and help restore healthy forests and species diversity. The burn burn is expected to treat 600 acres of Ponderosa pine and Gambel oak; and will be implemented by BLM and U.S. Forest Service crews.
“A relatively normal summer in terms of precipitation has created ideal fuel conditions for completing this prescribed fire both safely and with meeting the desired fire effects,” said Brad Pietruszka, BLM fire management specialist. “The area to be treated is adjacent to both homes as well as occupied Gunnison sage grouse habitat, both of which should benefit from the reduction of fuels in the targeted units, and the associated reduction in risk of high severity wildland fire in the coming years.”
The burn plan contains specific criteria regarding weather conditions and air quality that must be met to help ensure control of the burn and to minimize the potential smoke impacts to local communities. The BLM obtained a smoke permit, which identifies conditions for implementing the prescribed burn by the Colorado State Air Pollution Control Division.
The burn is anticipated to last no more than four days, once initiated. While smoke may be visible in the area at times during the burn, most of the smoke will lift and dissipate during the warmest part of the day. Smoke may be visible in the area for several days after the burn is completed as vegetation in the interior of the burn continues to smolder. Fire crews will continue to monitor the burn area after completion of the burn to ensure public safety.