Prescribed burns help keep public landscapes healthy, productive, and reduce the wildfire risk for nearby communities
Media contact: Rachel Wootton [email protected] 385-235-4364
MOAB, Utah — The Bureau of Land Management will conduct a number of prescribed burns on public lands in San Juan and Grand counties this fall and winter. Prescribed burns help keep public landscapes healthy and productive by reducing the wildfire risk for adjacent communities and campgrounds, restoring ecosystem health and enhancing wildlife habitat. Some of the projects will include burning of brush piles (mounds of vegetation and natural debris left over from forest management activities).
Prescribed burns are planned for the following areas in Grand County:
- The Castle Valley Fuel Break, which includes about 40 brush piles across 10 acres. The project area will only be burned when snow is present.
- Brush removal at Ken’s Lake and nearby federal facilities.
- Brush piles on approximately 10 acres in the Kane Creek area near the Colorado River.
Prescribed burns are planned for the following areas in San Juan County:
- The Blanding East Project north of Recapture Reservoir, including brush pile burning over approximately 1200 acres.
- The Devils Canyon Project is nearly complete with only about 18 acres of brush piles remaining. This project is located between Monticello and Blanding near Canyon Terrace, adjacent to Highway 191.
- The Wray Mesa Project, east of La Sal, near the Colorado state line. The Ray Mesa Project has been ongoing since 2004. The project is adjacent to the communities of Old La Sal and the Woodlands at La Sal Subdivision. These are identified as wildland urban interface high risk priorities. Ray Mesa is also home to some of the last old growth ponderosa stands within the boundaries of the Moab Field Office. The vast expansion of juniper and pinyon woodlands has encroached into the domain of most other native plant species to the extent that the Ray Mesa ecosystem was in jeopardy from catastrophic wildfire. The continuous, dense fuel build up of the woodlands also posed a severe fire hazard to nearby homes on the mesa.
Prescribed burns protect our local communities from destructive wildfires by managing our landscapes pro-actively and restore native plant communities. The most desirable weather conditions needed to conduct these projects occur with little notice. BLM fire and fuel specialists will carefully review existing weather and burn conditions to help ensure successful and safe operations as well as good smoke dispersion. Smoke and flames may be visible from nearby highways or in local communities. Light smoke may remain visible from the surrounding area for several days after the burn occurs. Brush pile burning is normally conducted during periods of snow cover. Fire and fuels specialists will continually monitor fire conditions during active operations.
Prescribed burns will be posted on https://utahfireinfo.gov. Local news outlets will be notified the day before burning begins.
For more information about prescribed burning or fire prevention, please contact J.B. Clay at the Canyon Country District Office 435-259-2184. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 to ask a question or leave a message. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and responses are provided during normal business hours.
Update 10/25/2021: The BLM plans to conduct burn operations near Ken’s Lake and the local federal facilities on October 26, 2021.
Update 11/5/2021: The BLM plans to conduct burn operations on Ray Mesa, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021 starting at around 10 am. Smoke impacts to Highway 46 and residences should be minimal.