GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — On public lands overseen by the Tres Rios and Uncompahgre Field Offices, the Bureau of Land Management Southwest District intends to carry out a number of controlled burns starting in early September and continuing throughout the autumn as conditions permit. These burns are a part of larger initiatives in the Southwest District to reduce dangerous fuels, safeguard communities that live near wildlands and populated areas, enhance big game habitat, sage grouse habitat, and range conditions, and reintroduce fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem in order to restore thriving forests and species diversity.

The Animas City Mountain in Durango, the Dawson Project Area, and the West Dolores Rim Project will be the site of a fire by the Tres Rios Field Office. The BLM intends to burn up to 652 acres of Animas City Mountain. The neighboring Animas City Mountain region, including City trailheads/access points, will be briefly closed to safeguard the public’s and firefighter’s safety during project execution. In order to create containment zones, the BLM plans to employ designated pathways. Prescribed burns in the Dawson Project Area, which is split between San Miguel and Dolores counties and is situated 13 miles east-northeast of Dove Creek and 10 miles east of Egnar, will be used to treat up to 883 acres of pinyon, juniper, and mixed mountain shrub. Additionally, workers will continue treating and burning up to 1,112 acres of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak in the West Dolores Rim Project Area, which is situated approximately seven miles east of Dove Creek. This area is known locally as the “East and North Pines.”

“The Southwest District has a robust prescribed fire program that seeks to reduce hazardous fuels, improve habitat for wildlife, and protect communities from wildfires. The burns that will be conducted this fall are a part of our efforts to improve ecological conditions and reduce risk to communities throughout the district,” said James Savage, BLM Supervisory Fuels Specialist. Detailed burn plans outline the parameters for each prescribed burn area.

Although no road closures are anticipated during the projects, camping close to the units is not advised owing to increased traffic and the potential for smoke, especially at night. Depending on the fuel and weather, burning may take place over several days during the fall and into the winter. After the project is finished, the locations will be watched over to guarantee public safety. The majority of the smoke will lift and disappear throughout the hottest periods of the day, even if it may occasionally be visible in the burn region. After each fire is over, expect the region to be filled with visible smoke for a few days while the inner vegetation continues to burn.

The Colorado State Air Pollution Control Division issued smoke permits to the BLM that specify the permissible air conditions for the fires. Smoke from prescribed fires may harm your health. Click here for additional details.