Fall prescribed burns include one above El Jebel, another west of Redstone

Staff report
A federal worker uses a drip torch in fall 2017 for a prescribed burn on national forest in the Cattle Creek drainage, above El Jebel. An additional project is planned this fall.
U.S. Forest Service/courtesy photo

Federal land management agencies on the Western Slope are planning four prescribed burns this fall, including one in the mountains above El Jebel and one west of Redstone.

The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit plans to undertake the prescribed burns in the White River National Forest and on Bureau of Land Management holdings in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties. The projects are weather dependent.

One burn will be in the Cattle Creek drainage, 7 miles north of Basalt. About 2,000 acres is targeted not far from lands affected by the Lake Christine Fire last summer.

The Braderich Creek Prescribed burn will target about 1,000 acres in a drainage 2.5 miles west of Redstone.

The other projects are the West Divide Prescribed Burn, 2,000 acres, 14 miles south of Silt and the Roan Prescribed Burn, 600 acres, 9 miles northwest of Rifle.

“We will only ignite these prescribed fires if conditions are ideal for safe, effective burns, as well as for good smoke dispersal away from nearby communities,” Lathan Johnson, UCR fuels specialist, said in a prepared statement.

Members of the public with questions about the projects can call Lathan Johnson at 970-640-9165.

The UCR completed prescribed burns on about 5,700 acres last fall. There is renewed vigor to get after additional projects after an active fire season in the White River National Forest, including the 12,588 acres charred by the Lake Christine Fire outside of Basalt and El Jebel.

“Now is the time to prepare for next wildfire season and continue to be persistent and focused on hazardous fuels reduction across the landscape,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said. “Prescribed burning is a cost-effective way to get this important work completed. In addition, low intensity fire provides benefits for wildlife habitat.”