Spring prescribed burning to start at Dixie National Forest

SOUTHERN UTAH — Dixie National Forest fire and fuels managers are preparing to begin spring prescribed burning to reduce hazardous fuels, restore forest health and work toward fire adapted communities.

Residents and visitors in surrounding areas may notice smoke in the air with “Prescribed Burn Ahead” or “Managed Fire, Do Not Report” warning signs on the road side as early as this week, indicating that the spring prescribed fire season has begun.

Dixie National Forest prescribed burn locations | Image courtesy of Dixie National Forest, St. George News
Dixie National Forest prescribed burn locations | Image courtesy of Dixie National Forest, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

Natural vegetation cycles of growth and mortality, past land management practices, including decades of fire suppression and other disturbances have resulted in uncharacteristically high and continuous accumulations of vegetation and fuels that influence fire intensity and contribute to unwanted fire effects, high fire suppression costs and reduced public and firefighter safety.

Wildland fire is a natural part of most of Southern Utah’s ecosystems, where regular intervals of fire assisted in maintaining ecosystem sustainability and resilience to fire and other natural disturbances.

Living in the west means living with fire,” Forest Supervisor Angelita Bulletts said. “It is my hope that communities can embrace the long range benefits of prescribed fire in restoring forest health and reducing the threat of wildfires to communities. Fire stimulates native vegetation growth, improves wildlife habitat and enhances rangeland conditions, all elements important to local heritage and livelihood.”

Prescribed fire projects are conducted under a defined set of fuel and weather parameters (a prescription) including factors such as fuel type, fuel moisture, temperature, wind speed, wind direction, aspect, slope and relative humidity to achieve identified fire effects, intensities and behavior for each project.

Air quality is another prescription factor required for prescribed fire implementation. The Utah Division of Air Quality regulates the project approval process using the process identified in the Utah Smoke Management plan.

Smoke from a prescribed fire project may continue for several days after the initial ignition as fuel accumulations are consumed. Prescribed fires are monitored regularly to ensure appropriate fuel consumption, fire containment and smoke dispersal. Action is taken to mitigate concerns as they arise.

Planned spring burning project locations on the Dixie National Forest (see map insert)

  • Escalante Ranger District
    • Stump Springs: 937 acres
    • Pretty Tree Bench: 600 acres
  • Powell Ranger District:
    • Dave’s Hollow: 500 acres
    • Ahlstrom Hollow: 600 acres
  • Cedar City Ranger District
    • Cooper Knoll Central: 500 acres

Resources

  • Dixie National Forest website | Facebook | Twitter
  • Utah Fire Info.gov
  • Information to make your property fire wise
  • Contact: Escalante Ranger District at 435-826-5400, Powell Ranger District at 435-676-9300, or Cedar City Ranger District at 435-865-3700

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Twitter: @STGnews

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