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The Bureau of Land Management Rocky Mountain District Fire staff announced this week that it has completed two large fuels reduction projects in Chaffee County. Both projects are the result of many years of fuel reduction efforts designed to reduce fire risk to homes, lessen the impacts of future wildfire and improve habitat for wildlife.

“Conditions aligned for crews to burn about 2,400 piles of slash over nearly 250 acres in January and February. After many years of work, we are glad to complete these two projects and contribute to fire mitigation efforts in the county.”

Image courtesy of the BLM.

Crews completed the Midland Mount Harvard Estates pile burn on January 5. Approximately 1,000 piles over 100 acres were burned by crews. This 325-acre fuels reduction project is located north of Buena Vista on BLM-managed lands adjacent to the Mount Harvard Estates and Colorado Midland subdivisions. The first phase of the project began in 2016 and a second occurred in 2018. The last of the 2018 piles were burned this year.

The Mount Shavano pile burn was completed on February 4. Crews burned approximately 1,400 piles of slash resulting from a 2019 hand-thinning project over 138 acres of BLM-managed lands northwest of Poncha Springs.

The BLM plans to continue fuel reduction treatments in Chaffee County in the summer of 2021. Crews will begin thinning vegetation on 100 additional acres of public land in the Mount Shavano area. Those piles will likely be burned in the winter of 2022-2023 after the piles cure.

Though these two projects conclude pile burns in Chaffee County for 2021, Rocky Mountain District fire may be conducting pile burns in the coming months in Fremont and Custer Counties.

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