U.S. Forest Service fire crews conducted prescribed burns Thursday on units near Divide Peak in the Sierra Madre Range west of Encampment.

Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos says the combination of proper moisture conditions in vegetation and spring weather to be followed by snow this weekend makes a great opportunity to carry out the burns.

"It's perfect. They can get in there and they can get rid of the hazardous fuels," says Voos. "And then basically the storm comes in and puts it out for them, and then puts down some moisture to get things going again."

"It's really a best-case scenario," says Voos.

The primary area for the Divide Peak Prescribed Burn Project encompasses 609 acres near Divide Peak. The Forest Service expects it will take several years to conduct burns across all 1,600 acres specified in the project.

The agency uses prescribed burns to reduce the buildup of hazardous fuels, reinvigorate rangeland and improve habitat for wildlife.

The units being burned are managed by the Brush Creek-Hayden Ranger District. The Forest Service encourages visitors to call the district office at 326-2517 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for more information.