The U.S. Forest Service’s Arapaho National Forest will be looking for opportunities to continue the Blue Ridge prescribed fire project this fall in the area near Cottonwood Pass between Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs as conditions allow.
In the past year, crews have completed burning on 438 acres in the area. This fall, fire managers are looking to burn up to 700 acres over multiple days.
Implementing prescribed fire is the next step in the Blue Ridge Salvage and Fuels Reduction Project, an on-going effort to reduce the risk of wildfire to communities and improve forest health conditions in Grand County. The Blue Ridge area is part of the Wildland-Urban Interface formed by the towns of Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs and the Fraser Valley. Improving conditions in this area is a key component of the Hot Sulphur, Fraser and Grand County Community Wildfire Protection Plans.
Also known as controlled burning, prescribed fire is implemented under very specific environmental conditions (e.g. wind speed, relative humidity). Prescribed fires are planned and implemented by trained fire managers with a strong understanding of fire behavior and years of on-the-ground experience. Fire managers take advantage of existing fire breaks like roads, trails, rocky areas or create control measures by thinning the forest to create a fire break. This helps them safely keep the prescribed fire within its designated control perimeter. Snow, even, can be used as a control measure.
Fire managers staff the fire until it is deemed secure and patrol the prescribed fire until it is declared out. Numerous partners, including local fire departments, will participate in the implementation of this prescribed burn.
Depending on conditions, smoke from these activities could be visible from many areas in the county, including Parshall, Granby and parts of the Fraser Valley. Smoke will be in the air, but fire managers work closely with experts to minimize the impacts to the extent possible. 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.
Unlike a natural start wildfire, fire managers can control when a prescribed starts and ends, giving smoke sensitive residents the chance to plan around those impacts. To learn more about the potential health impacts of smoke visit www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
To receive updates on this project, please send your email information to BlueRidgeRxGrand@gmail.com. The latest information on the Blue Ridge Prescribed Burn, including maps and project background, will be available on our InciWeb page: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/blueridge, and more updates will be shared in the week and days before burning is likely to begin.