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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Maple Creek 2 Fire Update

Contact: Kathleen Gorby                                                                                                                                                   kgorby@fs.fed.us
 (208) 497-7270
Maple Creek 2 Fire Update
MONTPELIER, ID – The Maple Creek 2 Fire was discovered July 22, 2017, on the Montpelier Ranger District, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, roughly 10 miles east of Preston and has burned approximately 11 acres. The lightning strike caused fire is currently burning in a mix of Douglas-fir, subalpine fir, and aspen and is located two miles inside the forest, on relatively steep slopes, with no infrastructure at risk (trails, campgrounds, etc). Regular fuels treatments along the Maple Creek and Sugar Creek private property boundary lines aided in the decision to actively manage the fire, allowing it to play its natural role in the forest ecosystem.
Lightning caused wildfire is one of several natural ecological processes that helped shape the forest and brush lands. The lack of periodic fires, in wildland areas, lead to an increase of live and dead fuels. This ultimately results in an unnaturally hot fire, possibly leading to greater property loss or damage, damage to soil, watersheds, and loss of plant and animal species and their habitats with longer recover time for the forest. Unnaturally hot fires can also be difficult to control and places firefighters and the public at greater risk.
Wildlife and aspen trees benefit from natural intensity wildfires. After a low heat burn, the forest comes back as succulent undergrowth and young aspen sprouts, providing tender nutritious browse for deer, elk and other animals. Without wildfire, aspen trees would ultimately succumb to conifer trees that grow taller and shade them out. Wildfires also provide vitally needed soil disturbance, giving aspen sprouts the direct sunlight, warm soil and space they need to thrive. Wildfire also contributes to the nutrient cycling helping maintain soil productivity.
Fire management doesn’t mean the fire is burning without human monitoring and potential intervention. Fire personnel are observing the fire activity several times each week and comparing its growth with predetermined action points. Fire resources are available to take different action on the fire as it spreads to these action points. The fire is expected to burn until a significant weather even occurs.
-EIIFC-