Prescribed Burning Update Friday Morning
Incident: Moquah Blocks F and J Prescribed Fire
Moquah Block F & J Prescribed Fire Update
Friday, May 24, 2013
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Bob MacGregor, Public Information Officer
Size: Proposed for 2,500 acres
Resources: 1 Fixed Wing Aircraft, 1 Type 3 Helicopter, 6 Engines and 2 All-Terrain Vehicles.
Total Personnel: 60
Injuries to Date: 0
Location: The burning area is located on National Forest land approximately 18 miles west of Ashland, WI and 9 miles northeast of Iron River, WI in T48N, R7W.
Objective: Utilize prescribed fire to restore Pine Barrens habitat. Pine Barrens are ecosystems with low densities of mature pine trees, which allow grasses and forbs to become the dominant vegetation. This habitat is on the decline in Wisconsin from a peak of 2.3 million acres at the time of European settlement to less than 1% of that total today. Many plant and animal species that are dependent on this type of habitat, including sharp-tailed grouse, upland sandpiper, chryxus arctic and tawny crescent butterflies, eastern bluebird and ternate grapefern, are experiencing declines in their populations.
Today’s Weather: A Remote Area Weather Station (RAWS) has been set up near the fire area to give firefighters accurate, up-to-date weather conditions. The forecast for Friday calls for light easterly winds of less than 5 miles per hour with temperatures between 58 and 63 degrees. The relative humidity will reach a minimum of 31% early this afternoon. All of these factors are favorable to getting the fire to burn hot enough to kill unwanted vegetation but not too hot to severely test control lines.
Today’s Activities: A good day of drying on Thursday after recent rains has created optimum conditions for beginning the prescribed burn on Friday. Fire managers have decided to start with Block F (see accompanying map) using ground ignition to line the fire perimeter with black and then begin burning the interior using aerial ignition. Ground ignition involves firefighters with drip torches loaded with a diesel fuel mixture lighting fuels as they walk. Aerial ignition uses a helicopter which drops small spherical fuel pellets, similar to Ping-Pong balls that kindle the fire as they hit the ground. Aerial ignition is faster, develops less smoke than ground ignition and is safer for firefighters on the ground. At a 7:00 a.m. briefing of fire personnel in the Great Lakes Visitor Center, Washburn District Biologist Matt Bushman spelled out the goal for the operation when he said “Success will be the restoration of a globally imperiled Pine Barrens Habitat”. Lighting of the fire should commence late on Friday morning with an objective of burning all the 1,450 acres in Block F. If operations are successful today and weather conditions continue to be favorable then Block J will be burned on Saturday.
Closures: Forest Road 448 will be closed to ensure public safety and to facilitate unrestricted movement of fire equipment. The public is encouraged to avoid the fire area on Friday and Saturday to allow the firefighters to accomplish their mission.
For Updated Information Go To: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3390/