The U.S. Forest Service plans to burn up to 500 acres near Avalanche Creek today and this weekend, if the weather conditions allow.
Moisture and precipitation levels, winds and temperatures all need to cooperate for the Forest Service to hand-ignite a prescribed burn about 9 miles south of Carbondale and east of Highway 133, near Filoha Meadows. The fire will burn in areas that include mountain shrub, pinyon juniper and aspens. Kate Jerman with the Forest Service said this type of vegetation responds well to fire.
“Fire is part of that natural ecosystem, so it just plays a great regeneration role,” Jerman said.
This burn is intended to improve habitat for bighorn sheep, elk and deer, as well as clear out some hazardous fuels in the area, which is close to some homes. This is the third year of prescribed fire near Avalanche Creek.
Operations are expected to take three to five days. Ideal wind conditions would have the smoke dissipate around Mt. Sopris.
“Hopefully we won’t get too much settling in the valley bottom,” Jerman said.
Smoke will be visible along Highway 133. Forest Service officials ask that any people with respiratory issues call their office for additional notifications.