Parachute, CO – Pending favorable weather conditions, Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Fuels Management crews and partners will conduct a prescribed burn this spring on the north aspect of Battlement Mesa, roughly seven miles from Parachute, on National Forest System lands near Garfield County Road 306. The prescribed burn is expected to occur around the end of April or early May.
Up to 2000 acres of Gambel oak and mixed mountain shrub vegetation will be ignited to benefit wildlife habitat. “Prescribed fire is effective for stimulating sprouting of Gambel oak and other shrubs, which improves browse for big game and other native wildlife. There is also a need to open up some areas within bighorn sheep range to improve foraging habitat and site distances”, said Natasha Goedert, Forest Service District Wildlife Biologist.
The intent of the project is to promote nutrient recycling of fire-adapted vegetation communities, to provide an improved food source for wildlife, and to create habitat conditions that will encourage wintering deer and elk to stay on public lands longer by improving the big game winter range. A secondary benefit of the project will be reduction of fuel loads in the mountain shrub vegetation across the project area.
“This project is part of a large-scale effort being conducted over a 5 to 10-year period in partnership between the Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Forest Foundation and other partners to improve habitat for bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and other native wildlife across approximately 115,000 acres on the White River National Forest.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has pledged financial support to assist the cost of federal fire crews and Grand Valley and Plateau Valley Fire Protection Districts plans to participate with the prescribed burn.
Another prescribed fire is planned on BLM/Forest Service administered lands southeast of Molina tomorrow as well.