Prescribed burn planned this week north of El Jebel | AspenTimes.com

Prescribed burn planned this week north of El Jebel

Staff report

If weather conditions allow, a 1,200-acre prescribed burn will happen this week north of El Jebel near Cottonwood Pass.

The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit said Monday in a statement it is expecting "a window of opportunity within the next few days" to conduct the Cattle Creek prescribed burn.

The fire will target as much as 75 percent of the vegetation within a 1,200-acre area located 9 miles north of El Jebel on the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District in Eagle County, according to the Upper Colorado River fire agency.

Smoke is expected to be visible from Carbondale, Basalt and El Jebel as well as east to Gypsum and Eagle in Eagle County. The agency asks people to not call 911 if they see smoke in the area.

"Prescribed fire is a cost-effective tool to improve wildlife habitat and reduce hazardous fuels," Karen Schroyer, Aspen-Sopris District Ranger, said in the statement. "The Aspen-Sopris Wildlife Habitat Improvement project is a district-wide project which gives us the opportunity to put good fire on the ground to benefit the resource and carry out our multiple use mission."

Approximately 20 firefighters and two engines will be used for the Cattle Creek prescribed fire, which will occur in aspen and shrub vegetation used by elk and mule deer as winter range and as a place to give birth in early summer.