Spring Prescribed Burning Projects To Begin on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Posted by swidrxfire - March 18, 2013 - Fire Update, News - No Comments

Baker City, OR – The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest will begin implementing their Spring prescribed burning programs following expected warmer and drier conditions. Prescribed fire managers are planning to implement hazardous fuel reduction burns beginning at many project sites. Prescribed burning is done to reduce dead and down fuels, selectively thin understory trees in dense forested stands, stimulate fire resistant plant species, enhance forage and browse, reduce the risk of large stand-replacement fires, and restore fire under controlled conditions as a disturbance factor in these landscapes. Prescribed burns can range from tens to thousands of acres in size.

Hazardous fuel reduction is not without impacts. Smoke associated with prescribed burning is a major concern and the hardest to forecast in the implementation planning process. Prescribed fire managers work closely with the Oregon State Smoke Forecast Center in accordance with the Oregon Smoke Management Plan to determine when, where, and how much is burned on a daily basis. Smoke dispersion models looking at volume of smoke, direction of spread and mixing heights are determined prior to each burn, smoke which may prove a significant impact to a sensitive area or community is rescheduled until the time of a more favorable forecast.

Wallowa-Whitman forest managers have been successfully conducting prescribed burning operations for fuel reduction for over 20 years, and plan to continue into the foreseeable future. The Forest completes between 5,000 and 10,000 acres of prescribed burning in a year.

Actual acres within a project area may vary dependent upon fuel conditions, smoke dispersion, wind patterns, and other variables. Acres may be higher or lower in some project areas than listed. Weather patterns, Fuel Conditions, and Smoke dispersion will determine exactly where and when units are ignited within the project areas. It is anticipated that not all areas will be within prescription and will not be implemented this spring, while other project areas may have more acres within prescription that may be implemented.

Forest Service and cooperators personnel will do the burning. For more information about the Wallowa-Whitman prescribed burning program, you may contact Bret Ruby at 541-523-1207 or Steve Hawkins at 541-523-1262 or visit the forest web site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/Fire-Aviation to view the spring 2013, burn unit maps.

The Burnt-Powder Fire Zone (BPFZ) – (541) 523-4476 (Whitman Ranger District: Baker, Pine, and Unity). The BPFZ plans to conduct prescribed burning on 5,000 acres this spring which may include:

Foothills (100 acres) in the Baker City Watershed 4 mile west of Baker City ,OR

Jack and California (1150 acres) in the Whitney Valley

Deer and Union Miners(750 acres) in the Sumpter Valley

Dry Creek, East Pine, and Barnard(800 acres) in the Pine Valley near Halfway, OR

Mile 9 (200 acres) South Fork of Burnt River near Unity, OR

Stices (200 acres)- 10 miles south of Baker City, OR

Goose (1500 acres)- 6 miles northwest of Sparta, OR

Broman (300)- Middle Fork Burnt River 7 mile NW of Unity

Sundry (1000)- Mill Cr./Cornet Cr./Pine Cr.-16 miles south of Baker City

The Wallowa Fire Zone (WFZ) – 541-426-4978 (Wallowa Valley Ranger District, Hells Canyon NRA and Eagle Cap Ranger District). The WFZ plans to conduct prescribed burning of up to 5,000 acres this spring which may include:

Minam (1,500acres) west of the Little Minam River.

Spooner (1,500 acres) Harl Butte area.

Hotel (758) 20 miles north of Wallowa. OR

Simmons (115 acres) 20 miles north of Enterprise, OR

Green McCoy (760 acres) Minam River

Baldwin (340 acres) 15 mile North of Enterprise

Arroz (350 acres) 24 miles NE of Enterprise in the Summit Ridge Area.

Red Vine (20 acres) North east of Enterprise near Billy Meadows

The Grande Ronde Fire Zone (GRFZ) – 541-963-7186 (La Grande Ranger District). The GRFZ plans to conduct prescribed burning on up to 3,000 acres this spring which may include:

Dark Meadow (1650 ac)– 15 air mile to the west of LaGrande, OR

Bald Angel ( 2000 ac) –7 air miles to the southeast of Medical Springs, OR

Medical Springs/Smith/Cold Angel (700 ac)- 2-4 miles Southeast of Medical Springs, OR

Horse Fly (1,300 ac)- 5 miles south of Starkey, OR

McMeadow (850 ac)- 10 miles west of Starkey, OR