Pending weather and favorable conditions, firefighters from the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit will begin prescribed burn operations within the Avalanche Creek area on the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District as early as Thursday, according to an April 17 announcement.

The Avalanche Creek Prescribed Burn project area is located about nine miles south of Carbondale on National Forest lands.

“Firefighters and land managers conduct prescribed burns to improve habitat for wildlife, promote nutrient recycling of fire-adapted vegetation communities, and decrease hazardous fuel loads adjacent to communities. Firefighters on the Avalanche Creek Prescribed Burn plan to treat up to 300 acres over a one [to] three day period,” according to a press release.

Smoke may be visible from Filoha Meadows, Swiss Village, Redstone, Carbondale and El Jebel. As many as 20 firefighters and five engines could be used to monitor progress at the burn.

“Public and firefighter safety is always the highest priority during firing operations, and prescribed burns will only be conducted if it is safe to do so. Certain conditions must be met before firefighters will conduct a prescribed burn operation; including correct temperature, wind, fuel moisture and anticipated smoke dispersal. When these criteria are met, firefighters implement and monitor each prescribed burn to ensure it provides for public safety and addresses forest health goals within acceptable air quality parameters. Please do not call 911,” it was noted.

Prescribed fire smoke may affect one’s health. Most of the smoke is expected to dissipate during the day; however, some evening smoke may remain in valley bottoms and drainages for a short duration.

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