Prescribed fires scheduled for West Dolores Rim, Animas City Mountain
DOLORES, Colo. (KKCO) - After a season of record-breaking snowpack buried much of the western US in thick blankets of snow, it can be hard to remember that we are entering wildfire season. The Bureau of Land Management announced Monday that it plans to conduct two prescribed burns within the Tres Rios Field Office.
Fire season can be rough, but Tres Rios Field Manager Derek Padilla says that prescribed burns are critical for forest health. “These planned burn projects are designed to improve ecosystem resiliency, enhance wildlife habitat, and reduce the potential for catastrophic fires on BLM-managed public lands in the Durango area,” said Padilla.
The first fire is planned for sometime between May 1 and 15, but officials say the start date is heavily dependent on fuel, moisture, and wind conditions. The BLM said that the plan is to ignite up to 12 burn units using a combination of ground and air resources. Officials confirmed that crews will patrol the area by foot and by air until the flames are extinguished.
Officials say the burn involves roughly 1,254 acres in the West Dolores Rim project area east of Dove Creek in Dolores and San Miguel counties. The area is also known locally as the East and North Pines.
The second burn is slated for Animas City Mountain in Durango, though officials say the burn is dependent on weather and fuel conditions as well as firefighter availability. BLM firefighters plan to ignite an estimated 494 acres of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak over a period of two to three days or more.
Some trails and entry points to the Animas City Mountain will be closed, with the BLM citing safety concerns for both the public and for firefighters. Some of the trails will be used as containment lines during the fire.
The BLM also specified that nearby nesting peregrine falcons will not be threatened by the fire, nor will the nesting area be part of the burn.
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