The U.S. Forest Service will begin its fall prescribed burn program in the Eldorado National Forest as soon as weather conditions are favorable.
The agency uses prescribed fires as a way to reduce fuels that could feed future wildfires.
Kristi Schroeder with the Eldorado National Forest says about 4,660 acres of National Forest land are scheduled to be burned this fall, winter and spring.
She says the work includes removing "fuel ladders" - a term for live or dead vegetation that allows fire to climb up from the forest floor.
"We're looking at decreasing the amount of ladder fuels out in the forest that have built up over years," says Schroeder. "So we do a combination of mechanical thinning beforehand and then come in behind with prescribed burn under very controlled conditions."
Schroeder says the prescribed fires are only ignited when weather patterns will carry smoke away from where people live.
The U.S. Forest Service says studies and "experience have shown that prescribed fires will stimulate the growth of grasses, forbs and shrubs that provide food for deer, mountain quail and other wildlife. These effects are related to the increased growing space and sunlight which result from reducing vegetation density."
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