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Avalanche Creek prescribed burn may not be complete

Apr 15, 2016

Prescribed burn near Avalanche Creek that took place April 4
Credit Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

The 500-acre prescribed burn that took place earlier this month on the slopes above Avalanche Creek Campground and Filoha Meadows was a success, according to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and the U.S. Forest Service. However, the fire may not be out just yet.

Although the main parts of the fire are complete, Forest Service officials say they may return to the area to burn 250 more acres if weather allows. This would not require a helicopter. Instead, people on the ground would use hand ignition techniques.

Phil Nyland, the U.S Forest Service’s district wildlife biologist for the Aspen and Sopris Ranger District, said further burns would help improve habitat for wildlife.

“There are a couple areas that are really key for bighorn sheep that would benefit from additional reduction,” Nyland said.

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails assistant director Gary Tennenbaum said if you drive through the Avalanche Creek area, it’s hard to tell what was burned because the fire was not particularly severe.

“You don’t see tons of black all over the place,” Tennenbaum said. “However, as the vegetation leafs out, you will see which vegetation has been burned and which hasn’t.”

The Hunter Creek prescribed burn is still scheduled to happen later this month or early May.