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Forest Service to conduct controlled burns

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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The Payette National Forest will be conducting multiple prescribed fires (broadcast and pile burning) this spring. Depending on weather conditions, prescribed fire could take place anytime from now through June.

"Fire is one of the most important natural agents of change in our forested ecosystems," said Keith Lannom, Payette National Forest Supervisor. "Prescribed fire plays a major role in our forest restoration efforts by reducing accumulated fuels, while promoting long-term ecosystem integrity and sustainability by reducing the risk to communities and wildlife habitat from high-severity wild-land fire."

The Council Ranger District plans to apply fire to 2500 acres in the Crooked River area, east of the Council-Cuprum Road and west of Cottonwood Creek (18 miles northwest of Council); and 500 acres between Summit Gulch and Calf Pen Gulch (20 miles northwest of Council).

The Krassel Ranger District plans to burn approximately 2500 acres in the Yellow Pine area, and an additional 20 acres on the Krassel work center administrative site along with scattered hand piles at Reed Ranch Airstrip and Big Creek Ranger Station.

The McCall Ranger District plans to under-burn approximately 200 acres across four separate burn blocks within and adjacent to Bear Basin (4 miles northwest of McCall).

The New Meadows Ranger District plans to underburn 3,000 acres within Rapid River drainage (19 miles northwest of New Meadows); 300 acres in the Warm Springs drainage (10 miles north of Council); 1,000 acres along Meadows Slope (3 miles northeast of New Meadows); 300 acres within the East Fork of Lost Creek (2 miles north of Lost Valley Reservoir); and, 100 acres along the western edge of Rock Flat.

The Weiser Ranger District plans to underburn 1200 acres in the Pole Mill area (13 miles west of Cambridge).

Trail heads and roads that lead into these areas will be posted with caution signs and a map of the prescribed fire locations. Fire personnel will work closely with the Idaho/Montana Airshed Group, the National Weather Service, and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to insure that smoke impacts are minimized. The decision to ignite on any given day will depend on favorable weather conditions and the need to reduce smoke effects as much as possible.

Smoke from these prescribed fires will be much less than what would be expected from a wildfire. If smoke concentrations approach air quality standards fire ignition may be delayed until air quality improves. Residual smoke may be visible for up to 2 weeks following ignition, but most of the smoke from the fires will dissipate 1-2 days after ignition.

These prescribed fires will reduce fuels near communities and improve current big game habitat by opening timber stands (maintaining the large tree component) and rejuvenating the herbaceous and browse component. In addition, birds and small mammals generally benefit from an increase in snags and/or coarse woody debris. Reducing accumulated fuels will not only increase available forage, but also promote long-term ecosystem integrity and sustainability by reducing the risk to habitat from high-severity wildland fire.

Smoke sensitive individuals may call Dustin Doane (McCall and New Meadows RDs; 347-0336), Tom Bates (Krassel RD; 634-0974), or Dave LaChapelle (Council and Weiser RDs; 549-4228) with any concerns they may have about the planned prescribed fires. The public may also call the Ranger District for more information.

Prescribed fire is an important component of forest restoration and part of the comprehensive fire management program on the Payette National Forest. For more information, please call: Council RD: 253-0100; Krassel RD: 634-0974; McCall RD: 634-0400; New Meadows RD: 347-0300; Weiser RD: 549-4200

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Original Publication Date: March 26, 2014

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