Fire planned for northeast of Clark Monday

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— With snow banks lingering in North Routt County, National Forest crews have decided Monday is an ideal time to set a deliberate fire on a hillside along Seedhouse Road northeast of Clark.

The fire will be the first of several in the area during the next few years. It will cover about 80 acres of oak brush on Reed Creek, between Hinman Campground and nearby private land. The purpose of the prescribed burn is to enhance wildlife forage while creating defensible space for private property close to the National Forest.

“The prescribed fire area is on a south-facing slope and surrounded by snow banks, making ideal conditions for burning,” said Sam Duerksen, of the Forest Service. “Smoke will probably be visible in the Seedhouse corridor during early afternoon, and will dissipate by early evening.”

Duerksen is the assistant fire management officer for the Routt zone.

Planned fires improve forest health by removing old plans, providing nutrients to the soil and promoting regeneration of new plans and shrubs that will provide winter habitat for elk, moose and other wildlife.

The first will also create defensible space for private property by removing much of the flammable material that would be fuel for a wildland fire, Forest Service spokeswoman Diann Ritschard said.

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