Pending favorable weather conditions, Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management crews and partners will conduct prescribed burn operations on up to 300 acres of National Forest System lands at Avalanche Creek, 9 miles south of Carbondale east of State Highway 133. Firefighters and land managers conduct prescribed burns to improve habitat conditions for wildlife, promote nutrient recycling of fire-adapted vegetation communities, and decrease hazardous fuel loads that have accumulated over the years.

“We will only initiate burn operations if we can do so safely and effectively. This will be the fourth time over the past several years we have conducted prescribed burn operations in this area. We want to thank local landowners, the Crystal River Caucus and partners for their continued support of this important work,” said Fuels Specialist, Jim Genung.

Certain conditions need to be met before firefighters will conduct a prescribed burn such as correct temperature, wind, fuel moisture and ventilation for smoke. When these criteria are met, firefighters implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets forest health and public safety goals including air quality. Up to 20 firefighters and five engines will be used to monitor progress at the Avalanche Creek Prescribed Burn. Operations will be conducted over a 1-3 day period in April and/or May.

“Using fire is a cost-effective way to stimulate growth of nutrient-rich vegetation for big game, manage shrub cover for native wildlife, and help regenerate aspen stands,” said Phil Nyland, Forest Service Wildlife Biologist. “The project will also reduce hazardous fuels adjacent to homes in the Swiss Village and Filoha Meadows communities.”

The project is part of a large-scale effort being conducted over a 10-year period in partnership between the Forest Service, Pitkin County, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to improve habitat for elk, mule deer, Bighorn sheep and other native wildlife across 45,000 acres on White River National Forest. Other 2019 prescribed fires scheduled under this plan are at Braderich Creek (Pitkin County), Cattle Creek (Eagle County), and Grizzly Creek (Garfield County).

Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, please visit: . Additional information regarding this project and the objectives of the work is available at the Forest Service office at 620 Main St., Carbondale or by calling 970-963-2266.