Hunter Creek Prescribed Fire
Prescribed fire is different from a naturally occurring “wildfire.” In a prescribed fire, trained professionals carefully select a target area for administering low-intensity, controlled burns. The purpose of a prescribed fire is to simulate natural fires that would occur in areas that are fire-suppressed due to their proximity to homes, roads, farms, and other areas that we value. While it may appear that the vegetation in these areas is healthy and abundant, without regular intervals of fire the landscape cannot undergo essential biological processes that are critical for long-term plant and animal health. A prescribed burn is a safe, calculated method to restore this feature to the landscape while still ensuring that property and people remain out of harm’s way.
Wilderness Workshop supports bringing fire back to the landscape on public lands. Ideally, prescription fires will occur more regularly on the White River National Forest at the discretion of the Forest Service. We support these efforts and help officials by educating the public and communicating with the press about upcoming burns and what the public can expect in each instance. We will update this page with information regarding specific prescribed fires as we receive it. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact Conservation Director Will Roush at will@wilderness workshop.org.
Hunter Creek Prescribed Fire
The U.S. Forest Service is planning to conduct a prescribed fire in the Hunter Creek Valley in April 2016. The project is to be implemented under the Hunter-Smuggler Cooperative Plan, which was finalized in early 2014 and seeks to improve wildlife habitat, forest resilience and recreation in the Hunter Creek Valley and surrounding landscape.
Where, when and how long will the burn occur?
Where: The map shows the areas where the prescribed burn will take place. We are asking the public to refrain from recreating in the Hunter Creek-Smuggler area for approximately 1-3 days during the prescribed burn.
When: The project will be implemented when conditions are ideal for a safe and effective prescribed fire. Conditions are considered suitable when the snow has melted off the south-facing aspects (slopes) in Hunter Creek and all other surrounding areas still retain moisture and snow. These conditions typically occur in April or early May. Other environmental factors such as wind, temperature and relative humidity will be key elements. Currently, the burn is scheduled for April, though no specific dates have been set.
Duration: Please note that the work will take place over a 1-3 day period. After which, officials will declare the area safe to recreate in.
What to expect during the prescribed fire.
On the day of the burn please do not call 911. There may be large volumes of smoke visible at times in the Hunter Creek valley and people may even see flames.
Recreation and trail use: For your own safety, please refrain from recreating in the Hunter Creek Valley until the area is declared safe. Updates will be available at the White River National Forest Twitter account @WhiteRiverNews, the White River National Forest website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver or by calling the Sopris Ranger Station (970) 963-2266.
Smoke: Prior to burning, a smoke permit is obtained through the state of Colorado – Air Pollution Control Division. The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Unit (UCR) works hard to minimize smoke impacts on surrounding communities.
If you have a smoke sensitivity, please contact Jim Genung at 970-404-3150 so we can keep you informed of smoke conditions. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, please visit: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
Where can I get more information and sign up for alerts?
• For general information, please visit www.aspennature.org
• Real-time updates will be available on Twitter @WhiteRiverNews or @UCRFireCenter
• Sopris Ranger Station: 970-963-2266
• Aspen Fire Department: Parker Lathrop, 970-925-5532
• Pitkin County Alert System: Information about the prescribed burn will be
disseminated via the Pitkin Alert system. To sign up for the alert system visit
• Garfield and Eagle County Alert Systems: The Garfield and Eagle County alerts
sytems will also provide information during the prescribed fire. More information
on those systems is available here: Garfield County: http://garco911.org/
• Eagle County Emergency Alert: https://www.ecalert.org/index.php?CCheck=1