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Release Date: 09/29/09
Contacts: Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management    
  NPS Colorado National Monument    
  BLM Grand Junction & Glenwood Springs    
  USFS White River & Grand Mesa National Forests    
  Lee Rickard, UCR Fire Management Officer, 970-244-3101    
  Julie Grode, GVRD Wildlife Biologist, 970-242-8211    

Prescribed Burning Planned to Treat Sudden Aspen Decline

Grand Junction, CO (September 28, 2009) – The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit is planning to use prescribed burning to treat aspen stands affected by Sudden Aspen Decline (SAD) and to regenerate aspen. 

This fall, approximately 500 acres of SAD-affected aspen stands within the Battlement Mesa area north of Collbran have been targeted for prescribed burning.  While prescribed fire in aspen is generally not planned due to higher moisture levels in aspen stands, prescribed fire may be a potential tool for regeneration in some areas and under certain conditions.  Monitoring plots have been identified to help determine the effects of this treatment and to monitor the long term effects of re-introducing fire into this ecosystem.

Aspen forests in many areas of western Colorado have experienced widespread, severe, rapid dieback and mortality.  This phenomenon, termed “sudden aspen decline” (SAD), has increased dramatically in recent years. In 2008, 553,000 acres of damage were recorded, which is more than 17 percent of the estimated aspen cover type in Colorado.

This project is part of a wider effort to explore options for treatment of SAD and to regenerate aspen to maintain and protect the importance of aspen for wildlife habitat, visuals, water storage and quality, local economies and tourism in Colorado and elsewhere.     

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  Glenwood Springs Field Office      2300 River Frontage Road      Silt, CO 81652  

Last updated: 09-29-2009