The BLM Tres Rios Field Office plans to continue with prescribed burning on the West Rim Prescribed Burn Project beginning through May 1 if conditions allow, a Bureau of Land Management spokesperson said Wednesday in a news release.
A total of 1,678 acres of Gambel oak, piñon pine, juniper and ponderosa pine in the “East and North Pines,” about 7 miles east of Dove Creek, could be treated over the next few days according to Deana Harms, BLM fire mitigation specialist.
The planned burns are part of a larger 15,000-acre project to reduce hazardous fuels; protect wildland-urban interface communities; improve big game and sage grouse habitat, and range conditions.
“The treatment goals are to create vegetative diversity that will increase the ecosystem’s resiliency to catastrophic fire, insect outbreak, and/or disease and benefit wildlife by providing nutrient-rich growth critical to the survival of big game species during the winter,” Harms said in the news release.
“Multiple units of the West Dolores Rim Project have been successfully treated over the last ten years and are already showing signs of improved habitat.”
No road closures are expected, but the BLM discourages camping in the area because of increased traffic and smoke.
The fires could extend into summer, then resume into fall as weather conditions permit.
Project areas will be monitored once completed to ensure public safety.
The BLM said it 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.