The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests Fire Management Officials are planning several prescribed burns this spring. The vegetation treatments will occur March through June depending upon weather and appropriate ground and vegetation conditions.
Prescribed fire projects are weather dependent and may take several weeks to complete. The prescribed burns will be accomplished using joint-agency fire resources, mitigation measures and protocols that are in place to reduce the risk and transmission of COVID-19.
Reintroduction of fire is necessary to improve and restore vegetative conditions. This effort will reduce hazardous ground fuels, lessen the risk of unplanned large-scale wildfire, help restore ecosystems and improve wildlife habitat. Prescribed fire helps with reducing the ladder fuels that can carry fire into the canopy, killing mature trees. Prescribed fire in these areas will burn with less intensity under moderated conditions which will improve the resiliency of the landscape against wildfire.
Safety of firefighters and the public are the most important factors considered when planning a prescribed burn. Fire Management Officers and Fuels Specialists spend countless hours developing detailed prescribed fire plans that detail specific weather, fuel conditions and staffing and safety requirements. Ignitions will occur using ground and aerial techniques. Ignitions only occur if conditions are conductive to a safe, effective operation and within appropriate smoke dispersal parameters set by the State of Colorado. Air quality will be closely monitored to mitigate smoke related impacts to communities.
For more information on how prescribed burning and pile burning smoke may affect your health, please visit: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
The following burns are planned:
West Zone – Norwood/Ouray Ranger Districts
• Glencoe Pine: Located approximately 13 miles northeast of Nucla, CO off 25 Mesa road (National Forest System Road (NFSR) #503). Approximately 450 acres are planned to be burned to increase the resiliency and reproduction of native ponderosa pine stands.
• Sanborn Park: Located approximately 5 miles northeast of Norwood, CO near Sanborn Park road (NFSRs #530, #515 and #526). Approximately 300 acres are planned to be burned to increase the resiliency and reproduction of native ponderosa pine stands and protect adjacent private property from the spread of unplanned wildfires.
• Thunder Road: Located approximately 6 miles southwest of Norwood, CO adjacent to Thunder road (NFSR #609). Approximately 350 acres are planned to be burned to increase the resiliency and reproduction of native ponderosa pine stands, improve wildlife habitat, increase range forage production and protect adjacent private property from the spread of large unplanned wildfires.
• 25 Mesa: Located approximately 25 miles west of Delta, CO on 25 Mesa road (NFSR #503). Approximately 1,406 acres are planned to be burned to increase the resiliency and reproduction of native ponderosa pine stands, protect adjacent private property from the spread of unplanned wildfires and reduce slash from mechanical treatments.
East Zone – Gunnison Ranger District
• Los Pinos: Located approximately 35 miles south of Gunnison in the Cochetopa Park area. Approximately 1,000 acres are planned to be burned to reduce vegetation (fuels) and improve wildlife habitat improvement.
• West Elk: Located approximately 14 miles west of Gunnison and about 4-6 miles north of Blue Mesa Reservoir. Approximately 600 acres are planned to be burned to reduce vegetation (fuels) and improve wildlife habitat.
North Zone – Grand Valley/Paonia Ranger Districts
• Calamity Hills - Located 28 miles southwest of Grand Junction, CO within Mesa County on the northwest portion of the Uncompahgre National Forest. Approximately 1,727 acres are planned to be burned to maintain and enhance productivity vegetation to benefit wildlife and to reduce the natural buildup of vegetation (fuels).
• Calamity Understory - Located on the northwest portion of the Uncompahgre National Forest, roughly 28 miles southwest of Grand Junction CO within Mesa County. Approximately 400 acres are planned to be burned to reduce vegetation (fuels) and to improve wildlife habitat.
• Steamboat Rocks- Located on the Lands Ends road (NFSR #101) roughly 6 miles south of Grand Junction within Mesa County. Approximately 1,100 acres are planned to be burned to reduce the threat of wildfire and improve wildlife habitat.
For information on prescribed burns, pile burns, wildfires and fire restrictions on National Forest System lands and other areas, call the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests Fire Information line at (970) 874-6602.
GMUG Forest website: www.fs.usda.gov/gmug
GMUG Fire Information: https://www.facebook.com/GMUGFireInfo/
For additional information on planned burns, please contact the specific Fire Management Officials at:
Corey Robinson: Forest Fire Management Officer – West Zone – Norwood/Ouray Ranger Districts (970) 901-6691
Ben Sanders: Fire Management Officer – North Zone – Grand Valley/Paonia Ranger Districts (970) 263-5824
Pat Medina: Fire Management Officer – East Zone – Gunnison Ranger District (970) 642-4407