Cody Field Office

Prescribed Burn Projects

The Cody Field Office uses prescribed fire as a tool to meet the goals in the Cody Resource Management Plan and National Fire Plan.

The following photos are examples of projects meeting multiple resource objectives such as reducing fuels, stimulating desirable herbaceous and deciduous plants, improving wildlife habitat, forage quality/quantity, and overall rangeland health. 

 Dugans Bench / Deer Creek
view of Crystal Creek Grazing Allotment in 1994.  view of Crystal Creek Grazing Allotment in 2003.
Pre-prescribed burn 1994 Post-prescribed burn 1997

 Rattlesnake  Creek
view of One-Twenty-One Grazing Allotment in 1993. view of One-Twenty-One Grazing Allotment in 1999.
Pre-prescribed burn 1997 Post-prescribed burn 1997

Both sites pictured above missed a natural fire cycle which allowed woody vegetation to increase, and herbaceous and desirable shrubs to decrease. Prescribed fire was used as a tool to reverse this situation and provide an opportunity for natural succession resulting in improved plant diversity and enhanced watershed health.

Prescribed Burn Mosaic
view of One-Twenty-One Grazing Allotment in 1993. view of One-Twenty-One Grazing Allotment in 1999.
Spring prescribed burn Post prescribed burn

Burning in the spring (pictured upper left) allows for more control during the burning operation by using snow drifts as control lines. This technique makes it possible to achieve a low-percent burn objective (pictured upper right). The objective of this prescribed burn project was to treat approximately 30 percent of the sagebrush which was easily achieved with a spring burn.

Prescribed Burning and Riparian Areas   
Spring Creek 1994

 Spring Creek 1995

Spring Creek 2002

Prescribed fire coupled with improved livestock grazing management can improve riparian areas. Prescribed fire treatments used in the upland vegetation enhances forage quality, quantity, and nutritional values and attracts ungulates off preferred riparian areas. The 1994 photo above is prior to implementation of grazing management and a prescribed burn program. The 1995 and 2002 photos are after implementation of grazing management and a prescribed burn plan. Note the overall increase of herbaceous vegetation, and the increase in coyote willow on the left bank in the 1995 photo compared to the 2002 photo. This improvement allows for greater stability of the riparian system, increases plant diversity, improves wildlife habitat and provides a healthier watershed.