Forest Service gives timeline for prescribed burn near Carbondale this week |

Forest Service gives timeline for prescribed burn near Carbondale this week

Staff report
A member of the fire crew on a prescribed burn in Avalanche Creek in spring 2017.
Glenwood Springs Post Independent file

Fire crews may begin prescribed burn operations in Avalanche Creek as early as today if weather and other conditions are favorable, the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday in a statement.

The prescribed burn area is about 9 miles south of Carbondale in Pitkin County on National Forest lands within the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District.

During the burns, smoke may be visible from Carbondale, Redstone, El Jebel, Filoha Meadows and Swiss Village. The Forest Service asks that the community not call 911 about the smoke.

Most of the smoke is expected to dissipate during the day; however, some nighttime smoke may remain in valley bottoms and drainages for a short duration.

Firefighters and land managers conduct prescribed burns to improve habitat for wildlife, promote nutrient recycling of fire-adapted vegetation communities and decrease hazardous fuel loads adjacent to communities. Firefighters on the Avalanche Creek prescribed burn plan to treat as many as 300 acres over a one- to three-day period.

Firefighters from the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit will wait until certain conditions exist before conducting the operation. This includes correct temperature, wind, fuel moisture and anticipated smoke dispersal.

When these criteria are met, firefighters implement and monitor each prescribed burn to ensure it provides for public safety and addresses forest health goals within acceptable air-quality parameters. As many as 20 firefighters and five engines will be used to monitor progress at the Avalanche Creek burn.

Other prescribed fires scheduled this year include Braderich Creek in the Coal Basin area, Cattle Creek in Missouri Heights and Grizzly Creek in Glenwood Canyon.