Smoke will be from planned burns: 1,500 acres at Collins Creek, 750 acres at Avalanche Creek to ease wildfire risk later
Smoke will likely be visible in the Roaring Fork and Crystal valleys in the coming days with prescribed fires planned on White River National Forest lands north of Aspen and south of Carbondale, U.S. Forest Service officials said Friday.
If conditions allow, firefighters plan to burn up to 1,500 acres at Collins Creek seven miles north of Aspen on Sunday and up to 750 acres at Avalanche Creek seven miles south of Carbondale on Monday. Operations could continue on Tuesday at either location.
The fires are planned to reduce dense vegetation and other fuels, which improves wildlife habitat by stimulating new vegetation growth and lowers the risk from large wildfires, the officials said.
“Fire is as much a part of these landscapes on the White River National Forest as the plants and animals,” said Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Kevin Warner. “Prescribed fires are carefully planned fires we use when conditions are moderate to bring fire’s natural benefits to an area.”
The Avalanche Creek Prescribed Fire is funded in part by Pitkin County and the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District. The Collins Creek Prescribed Fire is funded in part by Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program, Lower Colorado River Committee.
Firefighters are closely monitoring conditions and will only ignite the fire if conditions are good for a safe, effective burn and good smoke dispersal to minimize smoke impacts to surrounding communities, officials said.
Smoke may be seen from Aspen, Carbondale, Basalt, and El Jebel. Smoke should dissipate during the day but may remain on the valley floors as temperatures drop.
Fire managers said they have developed a detailed prescribed fire plan and obtained smoke permits from the state of Colorado. Prescribed fire smoke may affect health. For more information, visit colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
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