Smoke possible while ranchers prepare land for growing season |

Smoke possible while ranchers prepare land for growing season

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Yampa Valley residents might see smoke in the valley this time of year as ranchers prepare their fields for the summer.

Some members of the agriculture community rely on the burns to clean up their fields and replace nutrients in the soil.

Those who plan burns are supposed to contact Routt County Communications at 970-879-1090. This helps emergency responders prevent false alarms by being able to distinguish controlled burns from wildland fires.

Burns this time of year are only allowed for agricultural purposes.

The season for burning slash piles ended April 15. Those burns require a permit and are monitored by the Routt County Environmental Health department. They are only allowed when there is at least 6 inches of snow on the ground.

Those conducting agricultural burns this time of year are asked to follow certain guidelines.

• Check the weather forecast and do not burn on windy days. Erratic winds can quickly turn a controlled burn into an out-of-control wildfire.

• Notify neighbors and Routt County Communications about the burn.

• Carry a shovel and water to put out the fire.

• Clear debris down to bare soil around utility poles and fences.

• Never leave a fire unattended.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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