Saturday Morning Update 5-25
Incident: Moquah Blocks F and J Prescribed Fire
Moquah Block F & J Prescribed Fire Update
Saturday, May 25, 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 Saturday calls for east to southeasterly winds of 6 to 11 mph with temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees. The relative humidity will reach a minimum of 34% early this afternoon. There is a slight chance of showers prior to 10:00 a.m. The upper levels winds are projected to move smoke to the northwest but the smoke dispersion should be excellent today and not affect air quality. A portable air quality monitor is set up in Iron River, WI and real time data can be retrieved at http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/smoke.pl. A permanent air quality monitoring station is located in Duluth and information from this location can be viewed at http://aqi.pca.state.mn.us/. Saturday’s weather is projected to create cooler burning conditions than on Friday.
Yesterday’s Accomplishments and Today’s Activities: Firefighters were able to ignite and burn all 1,540 acres of Block F on Friday. Resource Advisor Matt Bushman of the Washburn Ranger District thought good results had been achieved, especially in the protection of the scattered larger pines. The killing power of the fire on the shrubs throughout Block F will be monitored this summer to see if temperatures got hot enough to kill the targeted 80 to 90%. The number one priority of Friday’s burn was attained as it was conducted safely with no injuries to firefighters or the public. The plan for Saturday calls for igniting the 950 acres in Block J. This will be the initial attempt at prescribed fire in most of Block J and that fact combined with the denser pine growth in this unit will most likely result in a more spotty fire today. Lighting will again be done using both aerial and ground ignition. Fire managers reminded crews at the 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning briefing that they should not get complacent based on Friday’s success and that they need to maintain vigilance with today’s burn. If operations are successful today most crews will be released from the fire with the only remaining resources being ones necessary to monitor hot spots and making sure the fire is completely out.
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 Saturday to allow the firefighters to accomplish their mission.
For Updated Information Go To: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3390/