10th Mountain huts want fire protection | VailDaily.com

10th Mountain huts want fire protection

Staff Report

Crews from the U.S. Forest Service and the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association will be thinning trees near 12 of the popular backcountry huts to reduce fire danger.

“After the 2002 fire season, 10th Mountain’s Director Ben Dodge contacted us out of concern for fire protection around the huts,” said Frankie Romero, a U.S. Forest Service fire management officer. “They are the driving force behind the project.

The work proposed includes removing dead vegetation on 42 acres near the huts as well as thinning trees and brush. Removing these fuels can slow the spread of wildfire and reduce the intensity, too, fire experts say.

“We strongly believe that applying a sensible model to create defensible space around our huts represents good stewardship of the forest and decreases the chance of a tragedy involving fire at the huts,” said Dodge.

Firewood created by the project will be available to the public. Some of the logging slash will be piled and burned while there is still snow on the ground. None of the work will take place in wilderness areas.

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Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: cthompson@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.

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