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Release Date: 09/04/09
Contacts: Dan Huisjen, Fire Ecologist, 970.240.5339    
  Lee Ann Loupe, Public and Legislative Affairs Staff Officer, 970.874.6717    
  Erin Curtis, Public Affairs Specialist, 970-244-3097    

Prescribed Fires Planned for Fall Burning Window (9/4/2009)

Montrose, CO (September 2, 2009- 4:30 PM) – As temperatures get cooler this fall, crews from the Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office and the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests will be conducting several prescribed burns in west-central Colorado. 

Burning will begin once weather and fuel moisture conditions are conducive to achieving burn objectives and maintaining control of the burns. Fire managers will also consider the existence of smoke in the area and will consider air quality issues before scheduling any prescribed burns.

“These prescribed burns will enhance the ecological health of these natural areas. They also reduce dense vegetation and fuels which lessens the chance for catastrophic wildfires,” said Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit Fire Management Officer Scott Schuster. “While a wildfire in these areas can negatively impact natural areas, private property and power lines, controlled burns have a positive impact.  The burns will improve wildlife habitat, regenerate new growth, and discourage pine beetle re-infestation.”

The areas slated for treatment include:

Norwood/Nucla Area
Columbine Burn: 615 acres of oak brush.  Located 12 miles NE of Nucla in Tabeguache Basin
Reade Hill Burn: 800 acres of oak brush.  Located 10 miles north of Norwood along Highway 90

Uncompahgre Plateau
Escalante Burn: 340 acres of ponderosa pine understory.  Located 25 miles southwest of Delta on Iron Spring Mesa
Little Monitor Burn: 400 acres of mechanically treated pinyon/juniper and oakbrush.  Located 20 miles southwest of Delta along 25 Mesa Road
Simms Mesa Burn: 300 acres of ponderosa pine understory.  Located 12 miles south-southwest of Montrose on Simms Mesa
Highway 90 Burn: 70 acres of mechanically treated pinyon/juniper.  Located 9 miles west-southwest of Montrose adjacent to Highway 90 and powerlines
Western Area Powerline Burn: 40 acres of ponderosa pine.  Located adjacent to powerlines near the Divide Road, approximately 15 miles SW of Montrose.

Ridgway Area
Chaffee Burn: 485 acres of mountain shrub.  Located 8 miles north-northeast of Ridgway near the Billy Creek State Wildlife Area

North Fork Valley
Bear Paw Burn: 500 acres of oakbrush.  Located 7 miles SE of Paonia along the South Fork of Minnesota Creek

Additionally, several pile burns will be implemented October through December when snow is present.  These burns are located on the Uncompahgre Plateau near power lines and north of Ridgway near the Dallas Creek Electrical Substation.

Weather conditions will be closely monitored prior to and during the burns, and the burns will only be initiated if conditions are within approved parameters for safe and effective fires.  Each controlled burn conducted by the agencies has gone through an environmental analysis and has a detailed burn plan developed in advance. Appropriate smoke permits have been obtained for each burn, as well.


MEDIA NOTE: If interested in covering one of these prescribed burns, including capturing photos or video, please contact Erin Curtis by September 11. As burns are scheduled based on conditions, we will contact those interested to arrange coverage.

  2465 South Townsend      Montrose, Colorado 81401   

Last updated: 09-04-2009