Teton Interagency Fire Managers Plan Several Fall Prescribed Fires
September 2, 2011
Jackie Skaggs, 307.739.3393
September 2, 2011
Teton Interagency fire managers are preparing for several prescribed fires this fall, if weather conditions are favorable. Fire managers have worked with other resource managers for several years to plan and write a specific "prescription" for each of the planned burns. Preparations necessary for conducting a prescribed fire take into account considerations for wind speed and direction, relative humidity, fuel moisture for live and dead burnable vegetation and more. Each plan also delineates the types and numbers of resources needed to safely conduct a prescribed burn and support contingency plans. For more detailed information, please go to www.tetonfires.com.
Fire managers for Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest are targeting the following projects:
- Hunter Ranch - Grand Teton National Park natural resource managers and Teton Interagency fire crews have planned a 186-acre prescribed fire as early as September 8, if conditions are favorable. The burn unit is part of a 4,057-acre native rangeland restoration project in the Hunter Ranch area of Grand Teton National Park. This project involves a multistage effort to convert pasture land back to native vegetation as part of the 2007 Bison and Elk Management Plan for the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park. As this burn is intended to remove a cover crop of cereal grain, the ignition operations should be short-lived with little residual smoke.
- Shadow Mountain - This prescribed fire is a 46-acre wildland-urban interface burn designed to reduce fuel loadings in Grand Teton National Park adjacent to the Shadow Mountain residential development. In conjunction with a recently completed fuels reduction project, this burn will break up the continuity of the brush fuels and reduce the potential for high intensity fire. Reducing the fuel loading reduces the risk to firefighters during a wildfire and increases the chance of controlling a wildfire before it reaches private structures. This burn will likely occur within a day of the Hunter Ranch prescribed fire.
- Lava Creek - This prescribed fire, primarily on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, is comprised of 226-acres (including 20 acres in Grand Teton National Park) in the Buffalo Valley Fuels Management Project. The area contains some pockets of dead and down fuels, continuous sagebrush and some conifer encroachment in the aspen stands. The project will break up the continuity of brush fields while maintaining or increasing the coverage of aspen to reduce the potential for high-intensity fires.
- Phelps Moraine - This 84-acre burn was originally planned for last fall, but was postponed due to unfavorable conditions. Teton Interagency fire personnel plan to implement the prescribed fire west of the Death Canyon trailhead road and south of the White Grass Ranger Station in Grand Teton National Park to enhance a mechanical treatment project completed in 2008. The burn is planned for mid-September to early-October.
- Upper Palmer Creek - The Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest is planning to include approximately 400 acres of sagebrush, aspen trees and mixed conifer forest in this treatment. Objectives of the burn are to rejuvenate aspen and reduce sagebrush fuels as part of the effort to increase defensible space around the community of Hoback Junction as the first step in implementing the larger Hoback Junction Fuels Reduction Project. Visitors to the Forest can expect temporary, short-term closures of the Palmer Creek Trail during burn implementation.
- Lower Gros Ventre - Teton Interagency crews will continue with the remainder of the Lower Gros Ventre Prescribed Fire for wildlife habitat improvement. The target area is located north of Lower Slide Lake and Gros Ventre road, south of the Ditch Creek drainage and east of Grand Teton National Park. Crews will apply fire to create a mosaic pattern of burned and unburned vegetation to increase availability of wildlife forage and improve diversity of vegetation on wildlife winter range. They will also treat aspen stands to remove conifers and invigorate the existing stands of aspens. No closures for the area are planned; however it may be necessary to apply a temporary closure for public safety at a later date.
- Beaver Mountain - The Beaver Mountain Prescribed Fire on the North Zone of the Bridger-Teton is part of the Bryan Flats Fuels Reduction Project. Objectives of this approximately 500 acre project are very similar to the Upper Palmer Creek Prescribed Fire, and include reducing conifer and sagebrush fuels to create more defensible space around developed areas.
- Weiner Creek - Bridger-Teton National Forest natural resource managers and Teton Interagency Fire Crews plan to burn 1,800 acres approximately 10 miles south of Alpine. This fire is a cooperative project supported by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The project will treat aspen and sagebrush stands to improve structural diversity and plant vigor for wildlife habitat. An additional benefit will be reduction in hazardous fuels, which will improve options for management of future wildland fires.
- Cottonwood II- On the Bridger-Teton National Forest approximately 25 miles west of Daniel, managers plan to burn 1,093 acres in order to increase aspen regeneration and reduce encroaching conifer. Additional benefits will be to increase forage conditions for wildlife habitat and reduce hazardous fuels build-up while restoring fire-adaptive ecosystems. This vegetation treatment is an interagency cooperative effort with Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, Sublette County Fire, and Teton Interagency Fire.
- Dry Quad and NE Quad-More information for these prescribed fires on the North Zone of the Bridger-Teton National Forest will be forthcoming on www.tetonfires.com.
Fire managers will proceed with prescribed fire ignitions when favorable weather and fire behavior conditions exist and fire resources are available. Smoke will be visible the day of the burn, and may persist for several days, especially in mountain valleys during early the morning and evenings. Please use caution in the area of the fires and be aware that minimal restrictions may be implemented to allow for public and firefighter safety and fire equipment access.