Beginning this week, the Montpelier Ranger District will begin prescribed burn operations in the Self Help area approximately seven miles east of Preston.
The district hopes to treat approximately 1,296 acres to reduce the amount of dense maple cover, fuel loading and regenerate existing aspen stand by mimicking a mixed severity fire.
This proposed activity is occurring in the fall when ground moistures are high and fire danger is low.
Prescribed burning allows fire manager the opportunity to control the pace at which they ignite material and carefully consider current and predicted weather during operations. Operation strategies are dynamic and may adjust or stop all together should ground conditions change.
“We do anticipate the prescribed fire to produce minimal smoke in the surrounding areas,” said District Ranger Mike Duncan. “The public may at times also see isolated single-tree torching, however, this is normal fire behavior and is what we expect.” Firefighters have prepared the area to reduce the potential for an escaped burn by constructing fuel breaks along the unit perimeter and hand thinning other areas.
If weather conditions do not allow for ignition, the Forest Service will continue to monitor for an extended clear weather pattern that will meet the combination of fuel moisture, temperature, wind, and smoke dispersal conditions necessary for a successful prescribed burn.
The project is expected to finish up the first of October.