Public tour set for prescribed burn in Hunter Creek

Staff report

Two Aspen environmental groups will host a hike for the public into the site of a proposed prescribed burn in Hunter Creek Valley Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Wilderness Workshop and Aspen Center for Environmental Studies are organizing the visit. Anyone interested in attending should meet at parking lot for handicapped visitors and the 10th Mountain Hut System at the end of the north Hunter Creek Road. The U.S. Forest Service has granted permission for special use of the parking lot.

Will Roush, conservation director for Wilderness Workshop, said Forest Service officials who are planning the prescribed fire for next year will outline the general plan. The tour should be over by 6 p.m., he said.

The goal of the prescribed burn is to improve wildlife habitat, restore the historical fire regime and decrease the risk from a catastrophic wildfire.

The Forest Service will be in charge of planning and implementing the actual burn, while the Aspen Fire Department will assist with safety concerns the day of the fire. Weather conditions and safety concerns during the spring of 2016 will determine if the fire can occur.

The exact location for the fire is still being planned, but the general area consists of the steep slopes on the north side of the Hunter Creek Valley in the vicinity of the lower Sunnyside Plunge trail and newly constructed Hummingbird Traverse. The historic buildings on the valley floor would not be included within the burn area.