The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests will be conducting prescribed burns throughout the forest this spring as weather allows. Roads and trail heads that lead into these areas will be posted with caution signs and a map of the prescribed fire locations.
Prescribed burning is done to reduce dead and down fuels, selectively thin understory trees in densely forested stands, stimulate fire tolerant plant species, enhance forage for wildlife, reduce the risk of large-scale stand-replacement fires, create strategic fuels breaks in the urban interface, and bring back fire’s natural role to the landscape.
Prescribed fire activities involves risk and fire managers evaluate values at risk prior to ignition. Firefighter and public safety are our highest priorities. This applies to all hazardous environments, and to the concept that we incur risk if we burn and if we do not burn. Fire is a part of the environment in this fuel type and a natural process that will occur regardless if it is a managed burn or unplanned wildfire.
Prior to conducting a prescribed fire many values at risk are considered and include firefighter and public safety, cumulative affects to communities, neighboring jurisdictions and private lands, natural resources (either in the loss of habitat due to removal of fire or devastation of habitat when a wildfire of much higher severity then a prescribed burn occurs), and other resources such as state and local firefighters, EMTs, aerial resources, etc.
Burning in the spring is also an important way of reducing the amount of smoke that typically impacts communities during the fire season. 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.
The following burn projects are associated with past timber harvests. The general objective for these units would be to reduce residual fuel loadings created as a result of the commercial harvest operations. These burns will generally be shorter duration and more localized in nature.
Lochsa/Powell Ranger District – 316 acres are planned:
• White White Timber Sale - 300 acres,1 mile southeast of Musselshell Work Center
• Saddle Camp Timber Sale – 16 acres, along Forest Service road 5601
Moose Creek Ranger District – 350-400 acres are planned:
• Iron Mountain Timber Sale – 350-400 acres, 10 miles south of the Fenn Ranger Station along Forest Service road 464
North Fork Ranger District – 75 acres are planned:
• Middle Bugs Timber Sale – 75 acres in the Lean-to-Ridge area
Palouse Ranger District - 140 acres are planned:
• Robo-Stew Timber Sale - 63 acres, 0.8 miles west of Elk River, adjacent to Hwy 8
• Robo-Stew Timber Sale - 16 acres, 1.8 miles southwest of Elk River near Forest Service road 1452
• Robo-Stew Timber Sale - 14 acres, 1.3 miles south southeast of Elk River near the Dent road
• Abes Animal Timber Sale - 47 acres, 4.1 miles northwest of Bovill on Forest Service road3321
Red River Ranger District – 630 acres are planned:
• French Gulch Timber Sale – 93 acres, 5 miles southeast of Elk City
• Trapper John Timber Sale – 152 acres, 12 miles south of Elk City
• Jungle Trail Timber Sale – 216 acres, 10 miles southeast of Elk City
• South Township Timber Sale – 169 acres along the south border of the Elk City Township
Salmon River Ranger District – 331 acres are planned:
• Buckshot Timber Sale – 162 acres located in the Slate Creek Drainage approximately 10 miles Northwest of Slate Creek, Idaho
• Moonshine Timber Sale – 103 acres, Located along FSR 9315 and 9316 in Little Slate Creek drainage approximately 12 miles southeast of Slate Creek, Idaho
• Millertime Timber Sale – 66 acres, located along FSR 9413 and in the Little Slate Creek and Van Buren Creek drainages.
In addition to activity associated with timber harvest, the Salmon River Ranger District plans to burn 2,000-4,000 acres of natural fuels in the Kessler, Blue Mountain, Monument, Wickiup, Blue Ridge, and Blacktail drainage areas.
Specific information on the location and timing of these prescribed burns are available at each of the district offices:
- Powell Ranger Station – Matt Young or Brandon Cichowski, 208-942-3113, Moose Creek Ranger District – Tim Schaeffer or Jon Norman, 208-926-4258, Lochsa Ranger Station – Sean Gaines or Neal Cox, 208-926-4274, North Fork Ranger District – Brandon Skinner or TC Peterson, 208-476-4541, Palouse Ranger District – Lisa Spinelli or Alan Carlson, 208-875-1131, Salmon River Ranger District – Richard Stiles or Kevin Barger, 208-983-1950, Red River Ranger District – Josh Bransford or Tom McLeod, 208-842-2245.