The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, in coordination with The Nature Conservancy, is planning to implement prescribed burns at Bobcat Ridge, Soapstone Prairie, and Reservoir Ridge natural areas, as well as at Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space. As fuel and weather conditions allow, the prescribed burns will occur between April 8 and May 31. Though conditions may dictate scheduling changes, the first burn is slated for Bobcat Ridge Natural Area on Monday, April 8. The natural area will be closed the day of the burn. Updates will be posted on the Natural Areas trail conditions page, http://www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/status.php
Smoke advisory signs will be posted along roads, trails, entrance stations, and parking lots where appropriate. A Natural Areas Department representative will inform visitors of the prescribed fire and closures. Staff will closely monitor smoke dispersal to avoid impacts to motorists and residents. To mitigate concerns, the Natural Areas Department will only burn under advantageous conditions.
The Natural Areas Department conducts prescribed fires to achieve four primary objectives; 1) reduce hazardous fuel buildup, 2) to improve weed control and restoration of native flora, 3) create the habitat structure required by target wildlife species, and 4) to maintain the role of fire as a natural disturbance. The use of fire as a management tool is an integral element of restoring the function of grasslands.
“Fire is an important element in the complex interaction between floral and faunal species. When used appropriately, fire greatly improves the habitat for a variety of species while reducing the need for herbicide and other more intense management options.”
-Rick Bachand, Environmental Program Manager with the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department.
Concerns or questions regarding prescribed fire can be directed to Rick Bachand, Environmental Program Manager at (970) 416-2183 or the Natural Areas Department at (970) 416-2185.