Dillon Ranger District continues forest fuel reduction efforts | SummitDaily.com

Dillon Ranger District continues forest fuel reduction efforts

U.S. Forest Service fuels treatment work continues throughout Summit County including at the Highlands Stewardship Project near the top of Prospect Hill.

The Dillon Ranger District continues much-needed fuel reduction efforts in consequential areas around Summit County in order to minimize potentially hazardous situations on National Forest land adjacent to local communities.

Such treatments remove downed trees and other fire-prone materials from these locations in case a wildfire were to spark in the region. Left untouched, these dead and dying trees affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic of the last decade are susceptible to add fuel to a possible fire, as well as fall and snag, which increases maintenance costs and creates an unsafe recreation environment.

"There is still an enormous amount of dead beetle-killed timber located on the district in key areas around communities," Bill Jackson, Dillon District ranger, said through a news release. "This ongoing work is critical to improving the safety of recreation areas and creating a healthy, resilient future forest that is varied in age and species."

Reduction treatments are about halfway complete above the Highlands community along County Road 300 (Gold Run Road) and are ongoing this summer. Crews are performing daily tree felling, skidding, chipping and hauling activities on the 451-acre project and motorists are asked to travel with caution on CR 300 and CR 6 (Tiger Run Road) during these operations.

Additional projects, some dating back to 2007 and with contracts that run through 2019, are expected to begin in adjacent vicinity known as the Golden Horseshoe in summer 2017. That 469-acre project will also use CRs 300 and 6 for hauling forest materials. Others, where the byproducts are sent to the biomass plant in Gypsum, are on the horizon as well.

"We have a host of forest health and fuels projects in the queue for implementation, which will continue to create a more resilient forest in the face of wildfire and changing climate," Cary Green, timber management assistant, said in the release. "We are committed to treating heavy fuel accumulations, regenerating the surrounding forest, and providing wood products to local and regional economies."

Recommended Stories For You

The Ophir Mountain project to mitigate wildland-urban interface in Frisco and surrounding communities will occur in summers 2017 and 2018. Logging, pile burning and fuels reduction activities will also continue in 2016 and through 2019:

-Frey Gulch north of Keystone (north of the Summit County Landfill), 2016

-Spring Creek in the lower Blue River watershed west of Green Mountain Reservoir, winter 2017

-South Deep Creek and North Deep Creek west of Green Mountain Reservoir, 2017 and 2018

If you have any questions regarding these activities, please contact the Dillon Ranger District at (970) 468-5400, or timber management assistant Cary Green directly at (970) 827-5160.