As early as May 3, fire officials out of the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit plan to conduct a prescribed burn in the Battlements area, located approximately five miles northeast of Collbran and west of Brush Creek. Approximately, 900 acres are planned to burn and officials anticipate that the burn will take up to two days to accomplish. The area is comprised of both BLM and Forest Service managed lands. This work is a continuation of efforts to manage fire fuels (vegetation) on the south side of the Battlements area since the late 1960s. The purpose of the burn is to reduce fuels on the site and to generate wildlife habitat, browse and forage.
Officials plan to conduct a prescribed burn in the Nick Mountain area early next week. Approximately, 1,600 acres are within the burn plan, comprised of 1,176 acres of Forest Service, 556 acres of BLM and 35 acres of privately-owned lands. The area is broken into 4 burn units and fire officials plan to begin with the burning of 2 of these units, totaling about 700 acres. If conditions allow, firefighters may burn all or portions of the two additional units. Ignition will occur aerially with fire resources stationed on the ground to assure adequate control and fire intensity to remain within prescribed parameters. This area was previously burned in the late 1980s. The objectives of this burn are to reduce fuels (vegetation) on the site to help mitigate the intensity of wildland fires in the area and adjacent to privately-developed lands.
These burns are subject to conditions on the ground, and forecast weather being conducive to burning and within the parameters specified in the burn plans.
Grand Valley District Ranger Bill Edwards stated, “Many landscapes are out of ecological balance and the use of prescribed fire is one way of helping to restore that balance and help landscapes to become more resilient to threats.” He went on to state, “The use of prescribed fire is an important tool in reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire and with appropriate planning and implementation, prescribed fire can help prevent extreme fires by reducing hazardous fuel buildup with minimal impacts to air quality.”
According to fire officials, smoke from the burning may be visible from various locations around the Grand Mesa. Most of the smoke will dissipate during the day; however, some of the smoke may remain in drainages as temperatures drop. A burn plan was created for this event along with the environmental analysis for the project. A burn plan specifies conditions and criteria that must be met prior to initiating the burn. A Smoke Permit has been obtained from the State as part of the preparation for the burn which specifies conditions as well.
According to Chris Farinetti, UCR Fire Management Officer, “We will only initiate this prescribed burn if conditions are within the required parameters and we can expect a safe, effective burn.” He went on to explain that firefighter and public safety are our number one priority and concern.
This information provided by Fire Information Officer Lee Ann Loupe from the Upper Colorado River interagency Fire Management Group.