BLM prepares for wildfire season

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PALISADE, Colo. (KKCO) -- Officials are getting the Western Slope ready for wildfire season and say land owners need to be prepared as well.

Today was the first controlled fire of the year. Officials said the weather conditions, such as the wind, snow pact levels and sun light contributed to all the right conditions for firefighters to light a controlled burn.

Lathan Johnson, head of Fire Management at the BLM says they have a very specific protocol when starting a fire.

“A prescribed burn that the federal government does not matter what land management agency has a very stringent set of rules that we follow and we have a written burn plan that's prepared months in advance," said Johnson.

The agency is preparing the community for the wildfire season that looms ahead.

“Wildfires generally pick up in the end of May beginning of June down here in Grand Junction with lightening season," said Johnson.

Officials say burning vegetation, in areas like the open Palisade acres of land near The Grand Mesa, is to help alleviate the threat of fires during wildfire season," explained Johnson.

Today's exercise is an important part of keeping the community safe.

“The big goal of this whole project- it's been a multiple year effort is to reduce the risk of wildfire up here, what we did today is going to make this place fire-proof for years to come," said Johnson.

Officials say they try to do several prescribed fires each spring, but a lot of it depends on weather conditions. However, the BLM says they are looking to do more controlled fires in the next couple weeks.

The BLM tracks the snow pack and because of the level it is at right now they were able to do the burn and says last year that wasn't the case because of a lack of snow.

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