Burning slash might mean smoke | AspenTimes.com

Burning slash might mean smoke

Staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

CARBONDALE – Smoke might be visible in the Roaring Fork Valley by next week as fire crews begin burning slash piles from earlier fuel-reduction projects, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

When conditions are ideal this winter, crews will be burning about 1,400 slash piles on Light Hill near Emma and near the intersections of Garfield County Roads 103 and 112 north of Carbondale.

“We need to have enough snow on the ground for safe pile-burning operations combined with weather conditions favorable for lifting smoke out of the area,” Rusty Stark, fuels specialist with the BLM’s Colorado River Valley field office, said in a prepared statement.

Smoke likely will be visible for short periods near these areas and from Highway 82 on days when crews burn the slash. Some drift smoke could affect homeowners for a short period of time. Anyone with health conditions that might be affected by short durations of smoke should contact Rusty Stark at 970-876-9030, the BLM advised.

The slash piles resulted from BLM projects designed to help protect communities from wildfire and improve firefighter and public safety.

“A primary goal of these fuel-reduction projects is to reduce the risk of a wildfire burning from public lands onto private land and threatening property in the area,” Stark said.

Over the past several summers, fire crews have reduced “ladder fuels” in these areas that can carry a fire into the tree canopy, by thinning trees and removing limbs lower than 3 to 4 feet from the ground. Dead and downed materials were cut as well. Cut material was piled for burning in winter months. Crews expect to complete the pile burning this winter.

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