GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Firefighters are burning hundreds of acres of forest land in prescribed fires at Avalanche Creek in an attempt to stimulate new vegetation growth and reduce the risk of large wildfires in the area.

Firefighters plan to burn another 300 acres tomorrow. On Monday, crews burned 313 acres of forest in the area. Firefighters also burned 725 acres at the Collins Creek Prescribed Fire north of Aspen on Sunday.

We saw excellent results form our efforts Monday, and we want to take advantage of tomorrow’s weather to complete additional acreage.

John Markalunas, White River National Forest fuels program manager

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the right fire at the right place at the right time:

  • Reduces hazardous fuels, protecting human communities from extreme fires
  • Minimizes the spread of pest insects and disease
  • Removes unwanted species that threaten species native to an ecosystem
  • Provides forage for game
  • Improves habitat for threatened and endangered species
  • Returns nutrients back to the soil
  • Promotes the growth of trees, wildflowers and other plants

Pitkin County and the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District are funding the Avalanche Creek Fire. According to officials, firefighters will only ignite the fire if conditions are condusive for a safe and effective burn.