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Black Hills National Forest to Begin Prescribed Burning

Weston County Gazette of Upton, Wyoming

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The public may notice smoke in various parts of the Black Hills National Forest during the next several months as fire crews conduct prescribed burns.

Fire officials said prescribed fire is an important tool in reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire across the landscape.

Prescribed burns have been planned across the Forest. Below are the potential areas where prescribed fire may occur, depending on conditions. 2015 — 2016 District Planned Prescribed Burns:

North Zone (Spearfish, SD and Sundance, WY)

Mystic (Rapid City, SD)

Hell Canyon (Custer, SD and Newcastle, WY)

By reducing hazardous fuel accumulations on the forest floor, encouraging new growth in forage for wildlife and cattle, and maintaining the many plant and animal species whose habitats depend on periodic fire, prescribed burning helps reduce the damage from wildfire in the Black Hills.

Prescribed fire specialists compare conditions on the ground to those outlined in burn plans before deciding whether to burn on a given day. A prescribed burn will not be ignited unless the conditions meet the criteria described in the burn plan.

Since prescribed fires can be ignited only under certain weather and vegetative conditions, it is difficult to predict exactly when they will occur.

Forest visitors, including hunters, are asked to be aware of their surroundings and watch for prescribed burning operations in the months ahead. Areas where burning operations are taking place will be signed to notify visitors. The public is also encouraged to contact a nearby Forest Service office with questions.

There are over 10,000 combined hand and machine piles across the Forest that firefighters are aiming to burn this winter into early spring. If conditions permit, crews can burn as many as 300 hand piles a day or 10 to 30 large machine piles a day.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit or call (605) 673-9200.

Copyright 2015 Weston County Gazette, Upton, Wyoming. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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