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Fire officials on Friday and Saturday are conducting a prescribed burn north of Edwards to improve elk habitat. Here’s the press release, issued Thursday, from the U.S. Forest Service:
Fire managers from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit plan to ignite the Muddy Pass Prescribed Fire 14 miles north of Edwards tomorrow and Saturday if conditions allow.
Smoke will be visible along I-70 from Eagle to Vail, Colorado Highway 131, and the Trough Road. Smoke should dissipate during the day but may remain on the valley floors as temperatures drop.
“We are carefully monitoring the weather forecast and fuel moisture. We will only ignite this prescribed fire if conditions allow for a safe, effective burn and good smoke dispersal,” said UCR East Zone Fire Management Officer Justin Conrad.
Firefighters are planning to burn up to 1,500 acres on lands managed by the White River National Forest using a helicopter for aerial ignitions. Earlier this spring firefighters burned about 200 acres in this area as “black-line” to help hold this larger burn.
“The intent of the Muddy Pass Prescribed Fire is to improve wintering elk habitat by stimulating new growth of aspen, grasses and forbs,” said Jennifer Prusse, wildlife biologist for White River National Forest Eagle-Holy Cross District.
Fire managers have developed a detailed prescribed fire plan and obtained smoke permits from the State of Colorado. Please contact Prescribed Fire and Fuels Specialist Ryan Hughes, 970-328-5891, for additional information. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, visit: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit (UCR) includes Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service firefighting resources that cover 5.8 million acres along the Interstate 70, Colorado River and Roaring Fork River corridors from the Continental Divide to the Utah state line. The UCR includes the White River National Forest and the BLM’s Colorado River Valley and Grand Junction field offices. The UCR cooperates with other federal and state agencies, local communities, and fire departments on a wide range of activities including fuels treatments, fire prevention, and suppression.