Laramie Ranger District fire crews are hoping to take advantage of recent wet weather conditions to conduct a prescribed burn in the northeast corner of the Pole Mountain unit on Thursday, June 18th. The burning will take place on Medicine Bow National Forest lands in eastern Albany County.
Crews will use drip torches to carry out burning operations over the course of one day. Operations will not commence unless environmental conditions are favorable to implement a safe and effective burn.
Live vegetation on Pole Mountain is currently green and moist due to recent wet weather. Fire managers will be targeting accumulated dead fuels, such as thick layers of pine needles under stands of large pines.
Approximately 28 acres will be targeted with Thursday’s burn as part of the ongoing Pole Mountain Vegetation Project. The burn unit is between the 714 D and 714 E Roads and operations will begin at approximately noon Thursday. That area is comprised of a mix of shrubs, sagebrush, grasses, aspen and ponderosa pine.
Smoke may be visible from I-80, Wyoming Highway 210 (Happy Jack Highway), and surrounding areas during burning operations. Signs will be placed on adjacent roads notifying the public of the burn. U.S. Forest Service fire crews will routinely monitor the burned area following operations.
Chainsaw work and mastication began in 2014 and the overall Pole Mountain Vegetation Project will take place over a period of approximately 7-10 years. Several units were treated with prescribed fire earlier in 2015. As a whole, nearly 9,000 acres have been authorized to be treated through a variety of methods, with the goal being a resilient, diverse and historically healthy forest.
Currently, the condition of native vegetation for wildlife and livestock on Pole Mountain is in decline, conifers are encroaching in sagebrush habitats, fuel loading is occurring, and resiliency of the range and forest is a concern.
Prescribed burning is a versatile forest management tool that can mimic historically natural fire disturbances, reduce hazardous fuels buildup, and improve habitat for a variety of wildlife.
For more information about this project contact the Laramie Ranger District at (307) 745-2300.
You can also visit our website at http://fs.usda.gov/mbr, or follow the Medicine Bow National Forest on Twitter, @FS_MBRTB.