Crews from Vail Fire and Emergency Services will be conducting prescribed fire operations in mid to late April as conditions permit. The prescribed fire will take place in the Katsos Ranch area of East Vail on approximately 3 acres of Town of Vail land and 1 acre of Colorado Department of Transportation right of way. Notice will be provided 24 hours prior to the prescribed fire.
This project will involve the burning of grasses and scattered brush to improve winter range for the East Vail bighorn sheep herd. The project will additionally reduce wildfire fuels adjacent to the community. Approximately 2 acres of grass on the Booth Creek berm will be burned to stimulate new growth and improve forage, plus 2 acres of grass adjacent to the North Frontage Road.
A burn plan has been developed for this project following national interagency fire standards. The plan has been reviewed by a third party evaluator to ensure all standards are addressed including safety and environmental considerations. The prescribed fire will be conducted in accordance to the written plan.
Prescribed fire operations are dependent on environmental conditions that allow smoke to rise and disperse rather than settling onto the highway and into residential areas. Operations will occur when there are adequate weather conditions to minimize risks while meeting project objectives. Smoke and flames may be visible from Interstate 70 and some smoke may settle into lower elevations in the evening hours.
The project may temporally impact traffic on North Frontage Road between Katsos Ranch Road and the East Vail interchange. Traffic is anticipated to be impacted for less than four hours on the day of the burn. Community members are asked to observe the operations from a safe distance and not impede traffic on the frontage road or interstate. A safe viewing location will be at the East Vail interchange parking lot.
The Booth Creek prescribed fire is part of a larger effort to improve winter habitat for the bighorn sheep herd. Additional work will include mechanical treatment of shrubs and removal of downed logs within the sheep travel corridors. A prescribed fire was conducted by Vail Fire and Emergency Services and the U.S. Forest Service in this general area in 2003.
If you would like to be included on future communications related to the Booth Creek burn, please sign up at vailgov.com/boothcreekprescribedfire.
Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, visit colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health. Anyone who may have health problems that may be aggravated by smoke production should notify Paul Cada with Vail Fire and Emergency Services at 970-477-3475.