GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The United States Department of Agriculture is announcing a new slate of prescribed fire projects in the Gand Mesa, Uncompahgre, andGunnison (GMUG) National Forests this spring.

USDA is scheduled to burn around 41,660 acres through 13 operations. The following prescribed fire areas are planned for this spring:

West Zone – Norwood/Ouray Ranger Districts

  • Glencoe Pine
  • Sanborn Park
  • Thunder Road
  • Horsefly
  • Smokehouse
  • Outlaw
  • Love Mesa
  • Sawmill
  • Dave Wood
  • 25 Mesa
  • Cottonwood Hollow Units
  • Ed Joe
  • Little Monitor

East Zone – Gunnison Ranger District

  • West Elk
  • Cold Springs

North Zone – Grand Valley/Paonia Ranger District

  • Steamboat Rocks
  • Cow Creek
  • La Fair Units

During a leangthy pause last year in our burning operations, we worked through the actions outlined by the Chief of the Firest Service Randy Moore in the USDA Forest Service National Prescribed Fire Review. These actions gave our fire managers and line officers improved processes such as ensuring prescribed fire plans are validated and up to date with the most recent science and modeling, to move forward in completing important hazardous fuels reduction work to help protect watersheds, infrastructure, and communities. Public trust is vital to our ability to implement prescribed fires and provide defense zones around GMUG communities. We are moving forward thoughtfully to use fire successfully as a tool on the landscape.

Chad Stewart, GMUG Forest Supervisor

USDA reminds the public not to call 911 or emergency services if they see smoke in the burn areas. Coloradans can find the latest information on burn areas and potential dates at the GMUG Fire Info Facebook page.

Prescribed fire remains an important way to minimize the risk of large, severe wildfires to a variety of values and resources by reducing fuel loadins in strategic locations. It is also an important ecological disturbance and nutriesnt provider, which is vital to wildlife habitat improvement and overall ecosystem function. The primary objectives for these prescribed fires remain focused on firefighter and public safety. We remain committed to doing this work safely and effectively.

Sean Stafford, GMUG Fire Management Officer