Prescribed burn planned Friday near Woody Creek

Staff Report

With good weather conditions expected, fire managers with the U.S. Forest Service planned to ignite a prescribed fire Friday near Woody Creek, according to a news release.

Firefighters planned to burn up to 1,500 acres in the Collins Creek area 9 miles north of Aspen “to improve wildlife habitat and reduce fuels for wildfires,” according to the Forest Service release. Smoke is expected to be visible from Aspen, Snowmass, Woody Creek and other areas of the Roaring Fork Valley.

“We will only ignite the prescribed fire if conditions allow for a safe, effective burn,” said Jim Genung, fire management officer for the central zone of the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit. “The snow has melted off the area we are planning to burn, but the surrounding areas still retain moisture and snow to help hold the fire.”

The burn will target mountain shrubs, said Phil Nyland, wildlife biologist for the White River National Forest’s Aspen-Sopris Ranger District.

“The new, nutritious plant growth following a prescribed fire in this habitat is a huge benefit to wildlife,” Nyland said in the release.

Friday’s Collins Creek Fire comes on the heels of three other, recent controlled burns in the area, including 500 acres in West Divide, 200 acres at Muddy Pass north of Edwards and 1,900 acres near Cattle Creek east of El Jebel on Saturday.