Prescribed fires planned on Rio Grande National Forest - update


MONTE VISTA – The San Luis Valley Interagency Fire Management Unit is continuing with plans to conduct several prescribed fires this spring on the Rio Grande National Forest. This update includes the cancellation of the English Valley burn where conditions are no longer optimal due to the spring green-up of fine vegetation. Ignitions will take place on the remaining units only if conditions are favorable and will meet burn plan parameters. These beneficial burns include:

• Conejos Canyon Unit 1: This 200-acre fire area is located on the Conejos Peak Ranger District one mile north of the Fox Creek subdivision. The prescribed burn is designed to reduce fuels buildup adjacent to the subdivision.

• Bighorn/Stateline Units 5 & 6: These two units, totaling 1,225 acres, are located on the Conejos Peak Ranger District four miles southwest of Mogote and will take several days to complete. The purpose of the burn is to improve elk and deer winter range and reduce woody debris left from forest thinning projects. This burn is being conducted in cooperation with the Carson National Forest in New Mexico.

• Squaw Creek: Located approximately 17 miles west of Saguache, CO, this 550-acre burn is on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands. The purpose of the burn is to reduce fuel loading and improve timber stand health by reducing spruce budworm and mistletoe infected trees.

The Squaw Creek burn is currently planned for ignitions on May 14 and 15. The Bighorn/Stateline units are planned for within the next three weeks with the Conejos Canyon burn being conducted after that.

Residents and visitors will likely see smoke coming from these areas for several hours each day during burn operations. Burn area maps will be posted on the roads leading into the project areas. Local residents will be contacted prior to initiation of the prescribed burns.

Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information see https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health

For more information on the prescribed fires, contact Kent Smith at (719) 850-1064.

For information on the Rio Grande National Forest, call (719) 852-5941, visit the forest website, or follow us on our Facebook page or Twitter.

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