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Release Date: 12/02/13
Contacts: David Boyd, BLM Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 876-9008    
  Rusty Stark, Fuels Specialist, (970) 876-9030    

Smoke to be visible this winter from pile burning above El Jebel (11-26-13)

SILT, Colo. – Smoke may be visible north of El Jebel this winter as crews from Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management begin burning slash piles generated from a Bureau of Land Management fuels reduction project. 
Firefighters from the Upper Colorado Unit will burn piles when weather conditions are favorable to lift smoke out of the area and moisture in adjacent vegetation is at acceptable levels to prevent spread. Burning could begin as early as next week and potentially continue through March. 
“We typically want about 3-inches of snow on the ground before we ignite slash piles,” said BLM Fuels Specialist Rusty Stark. “We currently have about 700 piles to burn.”
Crews thinned pinyon pine and juniper trees near the Catherine Store Road (C.R. 100) and Panorama Drive (C.R. 170) last year to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires entering private property from BLM land and provide for firefighter and public safety. The resulting slash piles were piled to cure so they could be effectively burned at a later date.
Smoke from the Panorama area could be seen for short periods from Carbondale, El Jebel, and Basalt. Some drift smoke could affect homeowners for a short period of time. Anyone with health conditions that may be affected by short durations of smoke should contact Rusty Stark at (970) 876-9030.
The tree thinning was part of the Panorama Fuels Reduction Project, which also included mowing 138 acres of dense shrubs.  
Reducing the continuous stands of brush and forest helps reduce the wildfire threat as well as improve firefighter and public safety. The work stimulates new growth of grasses, forbs and shrubs that greatly enhances wildlife habitat.
The piles will be burned under the authority of an approved burn plan and smoke permit. 

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.

  2300 River Frontage Road      Silt, CO 81652  

Last updated: 12-02-2013