The North Fork and Lochsa-Powell Ranger Districts of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests announced today their plans for annual summer prescribed fire projects to take place beginning mid-

August. Planned ignitions will begin when weather and fuel conditions become optimal for achieving management objectives while minimizing smoke impacts to surrounding communities.

Summer prescribed fires are ignited to take advantage of the conditions that natural fires would normally occur in at these

typically higher elevation areas. “Summer prescribed burns vary only slightly from the spring and fall burns,” said, North

Fork District Ranger, Andrew Skowlund. “Working in these areas a few weeks before typical fall burning, provides us with longer days, more predictable weather and fuel conditions and better opportunities to accomplish project objectives.”

“The prescribed fire treatments will provide for the sustained availability of elk forage and overall forest resiliency,” said Lochsa-Powell District Ranger, Brandon Knapton. Knapton reminds us that wildfires play an integral role in our environment and are a natural process that will occur, regardless if it is a planned prescribed burn or an unplanned wildfire. “This provides an opportunity to return fire’s natural role to the landscape within the historical time frame, while igniting at times when we have more control over the smoke and fire behavior.”

The planned prescribed fires by ranger district are listed below. Fire managers note that it is unlikely all units will be achieved this year. Additionally, the acres stated represent the total acres in the project areas. Only a small percentage of those acres will be ignited. The fires will be closely monitored and allowed to burn around the landscape naturally, with potential to impact the total acres in the project areas.

Lochsa-Powell Ranger District – 3832 acres planned:

• Weitas – 2956 acres located 10 miles north of Lochsa historical ranger station

• Coolwater Ridge – 876 acres located seven miles northeast of Lowell.

North Fork Ranger

District – 10,281 acres planned:

• Barnard Junction – 7066 acres located 25 miles northeast of Pierce, south of Forest Service Road #250

• Moose Kelley – 1229 acres located 14 miles east of Kelly Creek Work Center

• Long Creek – 1986 acres located 16 miles north of Kelly Creek Work Center Smoke from prescribed fires is significantly less than what would be expected from a mid-summer wildfire.

If smoke concentrations approach minimum air quality standards, ignitions may be delayed until air quality improves. Residual smoke may be visible for longer periods following ignition, but the bulk of the smoke is likely to dissipate in a day or two.

Short duration trail and area closures may be implemented for public and firefighter safety during prescribed burn activities. Closure information can be found at http://bit.ly/2HMxNam_Alerts_and_Notices.

Information on these prescribed burns will be found in these locations:

Inciweb (an incident will be created when burning appears imminent) https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/

The Nez Perce-Clearwater NF Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NPClwNFs

The Nez Perce-Clearwater NF Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/NPClwNFs

For more information on the Lochsa-Powell prescribed burns, please call Sean Gaines or Neal Cox at 208-926-4274. For more information on the North Fork prescribed burns, please call Brandon Skinner or TC Peterson at 208-765-7480.

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