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Friday, October 30, 2015

Idaho Falls District BLM to Conduct Prescribed Burns

The Idaho Falls District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to conduct multiple prescribed burns in eastern Idaho this fall as weather and fuel conditions allow.  The project areas vary in scope and purpose, but aspen regeneration is common to many of them.  Aspen regenerate via root suckers and thrive on disturbance to spur new growth.  They also require abundant sunlight which is often inhibited by overgrowth and conifer encroachment in the absence of natural fire occurrence.  Depending upon weather conditions, burning is expected to begin Monday, Nov. 2 and continue throughout the month.  Fire managers must operate within a pre-identified margin of conditions to achieve the best results.

The BLM will be conducting prescribed fire operations in the following project areas:

Ninemile – Northeast of Downey, Idaho, the 85-acre project area is composed of juniper and Douglas fir slash piles created by both hand and machinery.  The intent is to improve the Downey watershed and protect it from a potentially devastating fire incident.

Soda Hills – A total of about 25 acres will be burned in the heads of 90% Canyon and Idaho Ranch Canyon, north and west of Soda Springs, Idaho.  Machine piles at 90% Canyon will be burned as part of a timber sale cleanup to reduce downed fuels on the rangeland.  Hand piles in Idaho Ranch Canyon are being treated to reduce conifer encroachment and encourage aspen regeneration.

Patelzick Creek – About five miles west of Spencer, within the southern foothills of the Beaverhead Mountain Range, the Patelzick Creek Aspen Health Project consists of about 35 acres of piles that were created following a thinning treatment that occurred in the summer of 2014.  This thinning was done in response to the overpopulating of aspen stands and an adjacent spring complex by encroaching conifers.  If left untreated, these conifers would have outcompeted the remaining aspen.  The goal of the treatment is to improve wildlife habitat, stimulate aspen growth and increase soil moisture and spring output. 
 
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