Delta, Colo., (March 18, 2015) – The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests are gearing up for spring prescribed burns. A total of eight areas are planned to burn. Most of the burns will occur in early April and continue into June, depending upon weather and appropriate ground and vegetation conditions.
Significant planning for these burns has occurred and one of the most important considerations is for safety of the firefighters and the public. Fire managers have developed detailed prescribed fire plans that dictate conditions, staffing and safety requirements. These plans also provide for obtaining smoke permits from the State. Most of the burns are designed to reduce vegetation build-up/fuels, improve wildlife habitat and to improve rangelands. The burns will be ignited only if conditions are conducive to a safe, effective burn and within appropriate smoke dispersal parameters.
The following prescribed burns are planned:
Gunnison National Forest:
West Elk Burn: Located about 14 miles west of Gunnison and 5 miles north of Blue Mesa Reservoir. Six hundred acres will be burned.
Myers Burn: Lies about 30 miles south of Gunnison in the Cochetopa Park area. About 300 acres are planned to be burned.
Los Pinos Burn: Located 35 miles south of Gunnison, also in the Cochetopa Park area. Approximately 1000 acres are planned to be burned.
Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests:
Nick Mountain Burn: This is part of a continuing effort to manage vegetation and improve habitat in the area. Located about 30 miles east of Grand Junction and 4 miles southeast of Molina, 720 acres are planned for burning this spring.
Indian Creek Burn: This also is a continuation of previous prescribed burning activity. About 172 acres remain to be treated within the final burn unit. The area is located about 12 miles southeast of Gateway and 39 miles southwest of Grand Junction.
Glencoe Pine Burn: Located on the 25 Mesa Road, approximately 13 miles northeast of Nucla. This project is designed to under-burn (remain on the ground and reduce vegetation) in ponderosa pine to improve stand resiliency and improve productivity.
Western Implementation Unit #5 Burn: Located about 7 miles southeast of Norwood, near the Goodenough Road. This project will burn 1,122 acres that was mechanically treated two years ago.
Little Monitor Burn: Consists of approximately 75 acres of mechanically treated pinyon/juniper and oak brush vegetation, and 675 acres of ponderosa pine understory. The burn area is located about 20 miles southwest of Delta, along 25 Mesa Road and about 20 miles southwest of Delta.
Fuels Specialists to Ignite Small Prescribed Fire for Fire Investigation Class
BEND – Fuels Specialists on the Deschutes National Forest will be igniting a 5 acre prescribed burn tomorrow, March 19 3 miles south of Bend. The small plot will be used to help students in a multi-agency Fire Investigation class.
The five-day, multi-agency course will begin on Monday, March 23. 2015 and is designed to train Forest Service and municipal firefighters and law enforcement officers in wildfire investigation techniques. Students will participate in classroom and field sessions where they will be taught to identify points of origin by detecting burn patterns and protect evidence that could be used in criminal cases for human caused fires.
The prescribed fire area is on the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District 3 miles south of Bend, south of Woodside Ranch. If weather conditions remain favorable, ignitions will begin at 10:00 a.m. and are expected to take less than an hour.
Due to the location of these units, the public could see smoke although it is unlikely that roads will be impacted by smoke. If smoke does drift onto roads, drivers are encouraged to turn on headlights and slow down. For all prescribed fires, signs will be posted on significant nearby Forest roads and state highways that could be impacted. No road closures are anticipated with this project.
Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires, and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health. For more information, visit the Ochoco/Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.