Forest service begins burns in Flaming Gorge area
Flaming Gorge will really be flaming during the next two weeks, because the US Forest Service will be starting prescribed fires in that area.
The primary purpose of these burns will be to reduce hazardous fuels and provide better habitat for big horn sheep.
Tammy Clark, fire management for the flaming gorge ranger district, has the fire plan already in place.
“These fires will be achieved by hand lighting,” said Clark. “There will not be any aerial lighting. The fires will be on Bare Top and Dowd Mountains.”
The prescribed burns should reduce fuel buildup and officials believe that more frequent, less intense fires are more beneficial to the land. The benefit of the burns will provide better access and condition for wildlife in the Flaming Gorge area according to officials. Because of the burn, forest nutrients will be recycled, insect populations will be minimized, combustible materials will be reduced and growth of native trees and plants will be encouraged.
The changes to the habitat caused by prescribed burns are critical to all species of big game according to the US Forest Service. During the winter months the most important factor for big game survival is good forage. By clearing large growths of underbrush, open areas become available and wildlife forage is enhanced. The same benefits carry over to livestock, which also benefit from the growth of grasses and forbs.
The US Forest Service wants people to be aware of the smoke as they travel through the area. Driving conditions will be affected in some areas.
This year, a handful of Moffat County High School graduates are setting out to carry on the family tradition. From business to education, these students plan to follow in the footsteps their parents and in some cases, grandparents and great-grandparents.