Forest Service tackles prescribed burning south of Hot Sulphur
Grand County residents may notice smoke emanating from the Cottonwood Pass area south of Hot Sulphur Springs today as officials from the US Forest Service look to tackle a prescribed burning project on the Blue Ridge.
In late April officials from the US Forest Service, or USFS, announced plans to resume a prescribed burn called the Blue Ridge prescribed fire project. Fire managers are looking to burn up roughly 300 acres of land over multiple days in the area between Big Meadows and cottonwood Pass, “using existing snowpack to help with containment,” according to federal authorities.
Over the weekend Forest Service spokesperson Katherine Armstrong added an additional update, noting, “weather conditions are looking favorable for ignitions to begin tomorrow, Monday May 6, on the Blue Ridge Prescribed Burn.”
Armstrong noted that fire managers may look to completed approximately 200 acres of burning in the northwest portion of the project area, near Big Meadows and Cottonwood Pass.
“Fire managers need the right combination of wind, fuel moisture, temperature and precipitation in the forecast to conduct the burn,” Armstrong stated. “Forecasted smoke dispersal conditions and staffing also play a role in whether burning occurs.”
The Blue Ridge Prescribed Burn, part of the Blue Ridge Salvage and Fuels Reeducation Project, was initiated last fall. Officials from the USFS announced plans for the project in early September. Burning activities occurred late October as fire managers successfully burned roughly 150 acres of fuels.
The implementation of the prescribed burning activities is the next step in the Blue Ridge Salvage and Fuels Reduction Project which is “an on-going effort to reduce the risk of wildfire to communities and improve forest health conditions in Grand County,” stated officials from the USFS. “The Blue Ridge area is part of the Wildland-Urban Interface formed by the towns of Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs and the Fraser Valley.”
The USFS further noted that improving fuel conditions in the area of the Blue Ridge through prescribed burning is “a key component” of the wildfire protection plans for those communities.
Officials from the USFS warned local residents that smoke from the prescribed burning activities may be visible from areas within Grand County today including the Fraser Valley, Granby area and further west into Parshall and the Williams Fork area.
“Air quality is carefully monitored before and during a prescribed fire and all prescribed burns comply with local air quality regulations to minimize impacts to communities,” according to USFS officials.
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