The Bureau of Land Management High Desert District plans to conduct prescribed fires on public lands managed by the Rawlins Field Office this fall and winter. The treatments are contingent upon fuel moisture and weather meeting optimal burn conditions.
The Methodist Creek Timber Sale pile burn project is approximately 15 miles southwest of Saratoga along the northeast slope of the Sierra Madre Mountains, where mature and standing dead lodgepole pine has been harvested over the last two years. Slash piles left from processing will be burned to remove the excess material. The remainder of the project area is scheduled to be treated with a broadcast burn following additional mechanical preparation work, possibly in 2020.
The East Double Eight Timber Sale pile burn project is approximately 12 miles south of Elk Mountain along the north edge of Medicine Bow National Forest in the Snowy Range Mountains. Mature and standing dead lodgepole pine was harvested from 2016 – 2018 via sanitation/salvage timber sales. Several slash piles in this project area were burned in winter 2018 and 2019, and the remainder will be burned when optimal conditions are reached later this fall.
The School Creek pile burn project is approximately 15 miles east of Riverside, along the west slope of Barrett Ridge immediately south of Carbon County Road 660 (French Creek Road). The project targets encroaching junipers that have established in mixed mountain shrublands and riparian areas. Small, hand-constructed slash piles will be burned throughout the target area. The Platte Valley Mule Deer Habitat Partnership, Southeast Wyoming Muley Fanatics, and the Governor’s Big Game License Coalition have funded this overall project.
The Marking Pen Creek pile burn project is approximately 30 miles northeast of Rawlins, in the Seminoe Mountains. The project will dispose of slash piles created through a hazardous fuels mitigation project during the summer of 2017 and 2018, and will also help prepare the area for the Indian Pass prescribed burn, tentatively scheduled for 2020. The Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Governor’s Big Game License Coalition have funded this and other past and current treatments in the Seminoe Mountains
The Arkansas Creek pile burn project is located in the Arkansas Creek drainage on the north slope of Ferris Mountain. Slash piles will be burned to remove fuel material prior to treating the area with a broadcast prescribed fire, tentatively planned for the spring and early summer of 2020. The Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust have funded this and other vegetation treatments in the Ferris Mountains.
Prescribed burn treatments implemented by the BLM follow stringent authorization and permitting procedures. They are implemented only after environmental review which incorporates project design features and mitigation measures intended to ensure that objectives can be met with minimal impacts to other resources. A prescribed burn plan is followed that emphasizes public and firefighter safety as the first and highest priority. As with any activity involving vegetation treatments, risk cannot be completely removed, but the planning process attempts to mitigate as much risk as possible.
During operations, smoke may be visible from relatively long distances, but should dissipate quickly due to the time of year and expected weather, the type and amount of material being treated, and general atmospheric conditions in the area. Hunters and recreationists are urged to be aware of project areas and prescribed fire operations. For more information, contact either High Desert District Fire Management Officer Frank Keeler at (307) 352-0282, or Fuels Specialist Chris Otto at (307) 328-4250. For more information about BLM Wyoming, visit www.blm.gov/wyoming.