ENVIRONMENT

Manti-La Sal National Forest officials announce prescribed burns

Apr 23, 2024, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:03 am

A snow-dusted peak in the Manti-La Sal National Forest...

A snow-dusted peak in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. (Mike Coronella/Deseret News)

(Mike Coronella/Deseret News)

MANTI-LA SAL NAT’L FOREST — Fire officials for the Manti-La Sal National Forest announced that prescribed burns will happen this spring. 

According to a press release, they will take place in the Sanpete, Ferron, and Monticello Ranger Districts. 

When will the Manti-La Sal National Forest prescribed burns happen? 

The press release said that the first burn will take place later this month. It will happen in New Canyon, which is east of Ephraim. 

The goal of the first prescribed burn is to reduce hazardous fuel loading.  

According to the United States Geological Survey, fuel loading can impact the behavior of a fire. 

In addition, the New Canyon prescribed burn aims to improve wildlife habitat and regenerate declining aspen stands. 

Per the United States Department of Agriculture, aspen trees have been declining in parts of the western United States, including in parts of Utah. 

The National Forest Foundation website explained that a single aspen tree is actually part of a larger network. In an aspen stand, the trees are clones of one another. 

The USDA website said that the cause of the decline in aspen stands is unknown. However, it is changing the appearance of the Rocky Mountains, leaving empty patches where aspen stands used to grow. 

The second Manti-La Sal National Forest prescribed burn will happen west of Monticello. The Shingle Mill prescribed burn will happen on about 2,000 acres, per the press release. 

The second prescribed burn will start in May, however, that is the only timeline that the USDA gave in the press release. 

Like the prescribed burn in New Canyon, the Shingle Mill burn aims to reduce fuel loading and improve wildlife habitat. 

Additionally, the Shingle Mill prescribed burn will aid in restoring the appropriate fire return interval. 

The USDA website said that a fire return interval is the number of years between two fires in a given area. 

Finally, in mid-May, a prescribed burn will happen in an area called The Pines. It is west of Emery. The goals of the prescribed burn are the same as the two that will happen prior. 

What are prescribed burns? 

The press release said that prescribed burns are a tool that forest fire officials use to protect natural areas. 

Before a prescribed burn takes place, a plan is written. Officials decide when the best conditions will be to ignite the fire. They consider temperature, wind, and humidity, per the USDA. 

The planned fires have several benefits. 

Firstly, prescribed burns can lower the risk of dangerous and fast-spreading wildfires. They consume old fuel such as dried plants and sticks, which might otherwise contribute to a quick spread. 

Secondly, the fires can help prevent the spread of diseases and invasive species. Eliminating the potential of outbreaks can help native populations flourish or recover. 

The press release said that the USDA hopes the prescribed burns will aid in Aspen tree restoration in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. 

Maps of the prescribed burn areas were included in the press release.  

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Manti-La Sal National Forest officials announce prescribed burns