Prescribed fire lit in Hunter Creek above Aspen to support wildlife and reduce fuels
The US Forest Service, the Aspen Fire Protection District, and other partners teamed-up today for a prescribed burn on up to 1,200 acres in Hunter Creek above Aspen.
The goal of the project is twofold.
First, wildlife biologists want to clear out some of the older brush and trees to make room for new growth.
Phil Nyland is the district wildlife biologist for the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, on the White River National Forest.
He says elk and deer depend on the area during the winter, and the older brush doesn’t provide a lot of nutrients.
"They rely on this brush and this aspen to provide them food," said Nyland. "They browse on those young new stems that grow after this fire."
The second goal was to reduce fuels in the area.
Jim Genung is with the Interagency Fire Management Unit, and was overseeing the prescribed burn operation.
He says the low wind speeds Friday and the green grass in Hunter Creek are ideal conditions for controlling a fire.
"So we’re trying to get some fire back in here," said Genung. "And that’ll help reduce the hazard of a more catastrophic or large wildfire coming through here. It’ll reduce that fire behavior."
By eliminating dead brush from the landscape, firefighters have a better chance of fighting potential wildfires in Hunter Creek over the summer.