Fort Collins Natural Areas Department to conduct prescribed burns

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The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, in coordination with The Nature Conservancy, will be conducting several prescribed fires within many of the city’s natural areas. These natural areas include Soapstone Prairie, Reservoir Ridge and Fossil Creek Reservoir. The burns will take place during the fall and winter months of 2014/2015.

The Natural Areas Department conducts prescribed burns to accomplish a variety of management goals. Depending on the site and the specific project, prescribed burning may be used to reduce weedy vegetation, improve plant community composition for habitat goals or reduce the presence of hazardous fuels.

This season’s efforts will focus on reducing introduced pasture grasses such as smooth brome and cheatgrass, which have little habitat value, while promoting native grasses such as buffalo grass and blue grama which are adapted to fire and respond well to conditions created following a burn. Additionally, at the south part of Fossil Creek Reservoir and at Soapstone Prairie burning will help to diversify the grassland habitat for migrating birds.

Smoke advisory signs will be posted along roads, trails, entrance station and parking lots. A Natural Areas Department representative will inform visitors of the prescribed fire and closures. Officials will closely monitor smoke dispersal to avoid impacts to motorists and residents. To mitigate concerns, the Natural Areas Department will burn only under conditions that promote good smoke dispersal.

Concerns or questions regarding this burn can be directed to Rick Bachand, Environmental Program Manager at 970-416-2183, or the Natural Areas Department at 970-416-2815.