Forest Plans Spring Prescribed Burning
Incident: Spring Prescribed Burning 2013 Prescribed Fire
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Tod McKay (406) 363-7122
May 6, 2013
FOREST PLANS SPRING PRESCRIBED BURNING
Hamilton, MT. – Warmer temperatures this week will allow Bitterroot National Forest fire managers to continue their 2013 prescribed fire program. Over the next several weeks, fire crews will be conducting prescribed burns, weather permitting, to reduce fuels and meet resource objectives. There are three prescribed fire projects planned on the forest totaling approximately 300 acres. A map of the burn areas can be found at www.inciweb.nwcg.gov.
Smoke from several of the fires may be visible in the valley. The first burn is scheduled to take place tomorrow on the Stevensville Ranger District where crews will ignite a 27-acre unit above Bear Creek Trail. Signs will be posted at the trailhead to notify hikers and there will also be fire traffic along Forest Service road 1327 near the Totem Peak Estates. Smoke from this burn is likely to be visible from Highway 93. There are 20 firefighters and 2 engines assigned to the fire.
Prescribed burning is also planned this week on the Darby Ranger District where crews are planning to burn 118-acres. The units are located seven miles north of Darby and west of Charlos Heights. Smoke from the burn is expected to be visible near the Coyote Coulee trailhead #127 near Lost Horse Road and the residential area along Blue Jay Lane and Hayes Creek Road. Drivers are asked to use caution when driving through the area where fire crews are working or where smoke is drifting across roadways. There are 25 firefighters and 2 engines assigned to this fire.
Low intensity prescribed fires have several objectives including:
Maintain forest health and ecosystem restoration
Improve wildlife habitat – many plants respond favorably to fire providing new food sprouts for wildlife.
Reduce the potential of large, high intensity wildfires by reducing the amount of downed fuel to burn.
Post harvest slash treatment – reduce residual slash created by personal use firewood cutting and prepare sites for new tree regeneration.
Promote favorable conditions and habitat for deer and elk forage.
All burns are weather and fuel condition dependent. If ignition takes place there is potential the burning could limit public access in these areas. For public safety, recreationists are asked to be aware of fire crews and vehicles in the area. Prescribed fire signs will be posted along the roads and trails where burning takes place. These burns will be ignited only if operational safety, fuel moistures, weather conditions and air quality parameters are met. Fire managers hope to conduct the burning quickly, with limited impacts to recreational users and the general public.
For more information or to be placed on a day-of-burning notification list, please contact your local ranger station.