Delta, Colorado, Sept. 23, 2021 – Fire Management Officials from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests have announced plans to conduct prescribed burns this fall. The vegetation treatments will occur September through November depending upon weather and appropriate ground and vegetation conditions.

The objectives are to reduce vegetation (fuels) to help reduce the risk of larger wildfires, for wildlife habitat improvement and ecosystem health. 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.

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. Air quality will be closely monitored to mitigate smoke related impacts to communities.

The following burns are planned:
West Zone – Norwood/Ouray Ranger Districts

Sanborn Park: Located approximately 5 miles northeast of Norwood, CO near Sanborn Park road–National Forest System Road (NFSR) #530, #515 and #526. Approximately 150 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 NFSR #609–Thunder road. 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 and reduce slash from mechanical treatments. Road and trail closures may be required for public safety during burning operations.

25 Mesa: Located approximately 25 miles southwest of Delta, CO on NFSR #503–25 Mesa road. Approximately 1,300 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.

Dillard Mesa: Located approximately 30 miles southwest of Delta, CO on NFSR #501, #502 and Cabin Bench ATV trail. Approximately 1,000 acres are planned to be burned to increase the resiliency and reproduction of native ponderosa pine stands.

East Zone – Gunnison Ranger District

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.

Soap Creek: Located approximately 21 miles west of Gunnison and approximately 5 miles north of Blue Mesa Reservoir Dam. Approximately 300 acres are planned to be burned to reduce vegetation (fuels) and improve wildlife habitat

North Zone – Grand Valley/Paonia Ranger District

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.

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, visit the GMUG Forest website: www.fs.usda.gov/gmug, GMUG Fire Information: https://www.facebook.com/GMUGFireInfo/ or Twitter: https://twitter.com/GMUG_NF.

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.

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