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Teton Interagency fire managers will conduct prescribed fires this fall, if weather conditions are favorable. For each prescribed fire, managers work with other resource specialists to plan and write a specific prescription that includes parameters for wind speed and direction, smoke dispersal, relative humidity, fuel moisture for live and dead burnable vegetation, and more. These plans also define the types and number of resources needed to safely conduct each burn and support contingency plans.
Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest fire managers plan to conduct the following projects. For detailed information, please go to www.tetonfires.com.
·Matilda –This 371 acre prescribed fire is two miles northwest of Moran in Grand Teton National Park, and is bordered by Emma Matilda Lake to the west and the junction of Pacific Creek and Two Ocean Lake roads to the east. The unit is 1 1/3 mile west of the Pacific Creek Subdivision, which is identified in the Teton County Community Wildfire Protection Plan as a community at risk for wildfire. Completion of this prescribed fire will increase the chances for controlling a wildfire before it reaches private structures. Lightning fires on Lozier Hill or north of Emma Matilda Lake tend to spread east of the lake toward this area. Should a wind-driven fire spread into the thick stands of mixed conifer and deadfall, it would exhibit active fire behavior with groups of trees torching, making fire suppression a challenge. A planned fire allows managers to conduct a safe burn under the optimal conditions with resources on hand to meet objectives. Once burned, the unit will provide a buffer between the forested area and the Pacific Creek subdivision. This prescribed fire will treat timber mixed with deadfall, sage and willow.
·Riniker Hayfields –This 317-acre unit is part of a 4,000-acre native rangeland restoration project in 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. The Riniker unit is 3/4 of a mile northwest of Kelly, and south of the Antelope Flats Road. The prescribed fire will likely occur after a killing frost, and should take one day to burn using resources from Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Teton County.
·Beaver Mountain — This 400-acre project is located 20 miles south of Jackson in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The fire managment goals for this prescribed fire are to create a buffer between thick forested areas and the community of Bryan Flats. The buffer will increase the chance for controlling a wildland fire before it reaches private structures. This area was pretreated in 2013 when fire crews created a fire break around the burn unit's perimeter to establish a control line. Interagency firefighters will burn approximately half of the 400-acre unit leaving a mosaic pattern of unburned patches to meet resource objectives. Crews will apply fire using a combination of hand torches and helicopter ignition devices to break up the continuity of vegetative fuels. The ignition phase for the project is expected to take two to three days, depending on the weather and fuels conditions.
·Northeast Quad— The Northeast Quad unit, located south of the Buffalo Ranger Station in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, is the final unit for treatment in the Central Buffalo Valley Habitat Enhancement Project. The overall project goals are to restore desired vegetative conditions in aspen, sagebrush, and dry Douglas fir forest to improve forage for elk, moose and deer. The project will also protect and enhance sage grouse habitat, and restore historic fire-return intervals. To address wildlife considerations, about 100 acres of the total 626 acres within the burn unit will be targeted.The Central Buffalo Valley Habitat Enhancement has been a largely successful multiyear project involving several agencies.
Fire managers will proceed with prescribed fire ignitions when favorable weather and fire behavior conditions exist and adequate fire resources are available. Smoke will be visible the day of the burn, and may persist for several days, especially in mountain valleys during the early morning and evening. 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.