Forest Service issues draft decision on 3,000-acre Vail area fire mitigation project
There's now a 45-day comment period on the draft plan
The White River National Forest has issued a draft decision approving the Booth Creek Fuels Reduction Project, which would reduce hazardous fuels for wildfires on more than 3,000 acres adjacent to the town of Vail.
The Booth Creek Fuels Reduction Project would use a combination of prescribed fire, mechanical treatments, and hand treatments to reduce the fuel loads on National Forest System lands primarily north of Interstate 70.
The project is part of a coordinated effort with Vail Fire & Emergency Services to reduce fire risk and improve firefighter safety within the town of Vail wildland urban interface. It would implement treatments in areas of concern identified in the 2020 Vail Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
“Fire is a natural part of this landscape, but fuel loads in this area have built up for more than century due to lack of wildfire as well as insects and disease,” Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger Leanne Veldhuis said in a news release. “The fuel reduction work would help reduce the risk of wildfire to the town of Vail and give firefighters space to more effectively engage a future wildfire.”
The project would include some fuel reduction work in the Eagles Nest Wilderness and three Colorado Roadless Areas because of their close proximity to homes and neighborhoods. No temporary or permanent access roads would be constructed throughout the project area. Aerial ignition by helicopter or unmanned aircraft may be used in some circumstances such as rugged terrain, where it would be more effective and reduce risk to firefighters.
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The draft decision is now available for a 45-day objection period. The draft decision and information about the objection period are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=61657.