Settler's Creek Hazardous Fuels Reduction
Work at Settler's Creek will continue in the Spring and Summer of 2022, starting as early at May 17, 2022.
The Settler's Creek Hazardous Fuels Reduction project aims to minimize potential wildfire intensity, protect homes and critical infrastructure in East Keystone, and improve wildland firefighter safety. Additionally, this fuels reduction effort will improve regenerating aspen (Populus tremuloides) stands and wildlife habitat on the site.
Settler's Creek Tract D is a 15 acres parcel near Montezuma Road in Keystone, at the east end of the resort's Planned Unit Development area. The parcel is owned and managed by Summit County Open Space and Trails. Keystone was identified as a high priority area in the 2016 Community Wildfire Protection Plan, making this site a good candidate for this work. A large electric power transmission line is also located on this parcel, which increases its priority. The site contains a large number of beetle killed and dwarf mistletoe-infected lodgepole pine trees with lesser amount of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir in the lower areas near the Snake River. Throughout the site, aspen is regenerating in the understory as a result of the increased light availability following overstory tree death. The current work aims to remove the dead and diseased trees, opening up habitat for healthy seedlings and saplings to take over and flourish.
Following work performed by a Rocky Mountain Youth Corps Saw Crew in August 2021, approximately 4 acres of the treatment area remain to be cut. The treatment includes cutting standing dead and diseased lodgepole pine, spruce and fir trees on the site, as well as dead wood and slash that is on the forest floor. Live trees to be cut have been marked with blue paint and wildlife trees have been identified to maintain habitat for small mammal and bird species. The remaining acreage will be treated by RMYC and Summit County crew members in May and June of 2022, starting May 17. Chain saw operations will not be allowed on before 8am, after 6pm, or on weekends. Any one travelling in the area should use an abundance of caution, obey all posted signage, and avoid travelling off trails to minimize hazards.
The piles created on site will be burnt in the winter of 2023 by professional wildland firefighters after the piles have cured for one year. Burning will take place with at least 6" of snow on the ground and a forecast that will allow for minimal smoke impacts and rapid pile consumption.
This project is being funded by a GOCO Conservation Youth Corps grant and supplemented by the Summit County 1A Strong Futures Fund, which provides $1M annually for fuels reduction and wildfire mitigation effort. For more information on this project please email Jordan Mead, Open Space and Trails Resource Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (970) 668-4065. Thank you for your support of Summit County's ongoing commitment to community safety and wildfire mitigation.