RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2007
CONTACT: Donovan Walker, Fire Ecologist
BLM SLASH MANAGEMENT AND PLANNED PILE BURNING
MANHATTAN WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE PROJECT
The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Battle Mountain Field Office (BMFO) has been conducting small prescribed burns in and around the town of Manhattan, Nevada for nearly three years as part of Manhattan’s Wildland-urban Interface, Fire Defense System project. To date, the BLM has completed one hundred sixty-eight (168) acres of burning activities within the project with the help of the Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), Tonopah Conservation Camp. Managing the large amounts of slash generated by thinning operations is a challenging but necessary component of measuring the success of the project. Eliminating these residual fuels substantially reduces the remaining fire hazard.
The BMFO is planning to continue prescribed burning activities during the months of April, May, and June, 2007 in the Manhattan Wildland-urban Interface (WUI) project. Up to thirty (30) acres of slash piles, are targeted for disposal by burning during this time period. The burn will be conducted with NDF support and in coordination with the local Manhattan chapter of the Nevada Firesafe Council. The continued support and cooperation with NDF and Firesafe remains essential to the success of the project.
The prescribed fire area is immediately adjacent to the town of Manhattan and will take place in the project’s Mill Site Unit, immediately north of town and the RD14 Unit east of Manhattan along Forest Road 014. The objective is to dispose of slash piles generated from thinning operations which have been implemented to protect the community from catastrophic wildfires.
The prescribed fires conducted on the project have proven beneficial to the local ecosystem. Although these are only small-scale pile burns, many nutrients are recycled back into the ground on the periphery of the piles. Post-burn monitoring has noted regeneration of understory species such as sagebrush, native grasses, bitterbrush and mormon tea. It has also increased the public’s awareness of the usefulness and necessity of prescribed fire in fire-dependant ecosystems such and pinyon-juniper and sagebrush fuel types.
Prescribed burning is highly dependent on weather conditions and fuel parameters. All burning activities will be conducted in accordance with the approved burn plan. The burn may be postponed until a window of acceptable prescriptive conditions opens. Smoke may be visible from Manhattan and other nearby areas. Ignition operations will be intermittent to allow for adequate smoke dispersal and burning will not occur on every day during the burn window.
For further information please contact Donovan Walker, Fire Ecologist/Burn Boss or Dave Davis, Fire Management Officer at the Battle Mountain Field Office, phone (775) 635-4000.