MONTROSE, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management Southwest District plans to conduct several prescribed burns beginning early October and throughout the fall when conditions allow on public lands managed by the Tres Rios and Uncompahgre Field Offices. These burns are part of larger projects on the Southwest District to reduce hazardous fuels; protect wildland-urban interface communities; improve big game habitat, sage grouse habitat, and range conditions; and reintroduce fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem to restore healthy forests and species diversity.
The Tres Rios Field Office plans to burn within the Dawson Project Area. The burns will treat up to 883 acres of pinyon, juniper, and mixed mountain shrub and is split between San Miguel and Dolores counties located 13 miles east-northeast of Dove Creek and 10 miles east of Egnar. In addition, crews will continue treating up to 1,112 acres of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak within the West Dolores Rim Project Area located about seven miles east of Dove Creek and locally referred to as the “East and North Pines.”
The Uncompahgre Field Office will continue prescribed burning in the Sims Mesa Project Area located southwest of Montrose, CO and approximately 5 ½ miles southwest of Colona, CO. The burn will treat up to 110 acres of pinyon, juniper, and mixed mountain shrub. In addition, crews plan to burn three units in the Dry Mesa Project Area that will total about 100 acres of sagebrush, dead and down woody debris, pinyon, and juniper. This burn area is approximately 18 miles southwest of Delta, CO in the Dominguez Escalante National Conservation Area.
“The Southwest District has a robust prescribed fire program that seeks to reduce hazardous fuels, improve habitat for wildlife, and protect communities from wildfires. The burns that will be conducted this fall are a part of our efforts to improve ecological conditions and reduce risk to communities throughout the district,” said James Savage, BLM Supervisory Fuels Specialist. Detailed burn plans outline the parameters for each prescribed burn area.
While no road closures are expected during the projects, camping near the units is discouraged due to increased traffic and likelihood of smoke in the area, particularly at night. Multiple days of burning may occur throughout the fall into the winter, as fuel conditions and weather permit. Project areas will be monitored once completed to ensure public safety. While smoke may be visible in the burn area at times, most of the smoke will lift and dissipate during the warmest parts of the day. Expect visible smoke in the area for several days after each burn is completed as vegetation in the interior continues to smolder.
The BLM obtained smoke permits from the Colorado State Air Pollution Control Division, which identify atmospheric conditions under which the burns can be implemented. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, visit https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
For information on prescribed burns, visit the Southwest District BLM Prescribed Fire InciWeb page (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7852/) or follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/SWD_Fire) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/BLMMontroseFireUnit).