The Crestone Eagle, September 2003:

Fuel reduction project begins near Crestone

The Bureau of Land Management will be doing an aerial seeding of native grasses and shrubs on August 28 or 29 to augment the mechanical fuels reduction work that will occur the same or following week. The projects will be on BLM managed public land northwest of Crestone.

In June 2003 the Decision document on the Crestone Fuels Reduction Projects was appealed. In July the Interior Board of Land Appeals, the final authority on appeals of this nature, upheld the BLM’s Decision, allowing the fuels reduction projects to proceed.

The purpose of the projects is to reduce future wildfire risks by reducing fuels near the town. The projects will involve mechanical treatment of piñon/juniper stands to reduce stand density. Additional benefits of the project will be to enhance big game winter habitat. The fuel breaks will be strips or blocks of land on which the vegetation has been modified to break up the continuity of vegetation so that wildfires (especially crown fires) burning into them will slow and can be more readily extinguished.

About 320 acres of mechanical treatment is planned northwest of Crestone, just past the cemetery. The project is scheduled to begin in late August or early September and will be completed around October 1. In addition, a hand thinning crew has been contracted to work on 190 acres on BLM managed public land east of Crestone. This work should also take place during September.

For more information on these projects, you can contact Brian Garcia at the BLM office in Monte Vista, (719) 852-6255.