March 22, 2007
Contact: Rey Adame
Salt Wells Basin Prescribed Burn Set to Begin March 23
The BLM’s Western Zone Fire Management Team is planning to begin prescribed burn operations on Friday, March 23, for the Salt Wells Basin south of Rock Springs. Operations are completely within the Salt Wells grazing allotment. This week’s burn is a continuation of last year’s effort, which was shortened because of bad weather.
This project is expected to take five to ten days. Weather and the recent precipitation are considered primary factors as to the actual starting date and duration of the prescribed burn. The BLM would like to thank the public land users in advance for their cooperation with this important public land management activity.
Salt Wells Basin prescribed burn is located approximately 30-35 miles south of Rock Springs. Project is lined by Highway 191 on the west, the top of Mellor Mountain on the north, Salt Wells Creek on the east, the Salt Wells/Pine Mountain allotment boundary fence on the southeast and Red Creek rim on the south
Some temporary closures of Sweetwater County roads 34 and 27 can be expected. Closures will occur only as needed and will be at major intersections. Travel on Highway 191 South should be uninterrupted. BLM asks that all travelers in the area slow down and use caution from Highway 191 milepost 25 to milepost 35. Given prevailing and forecasted wind direction the BLM does not expect smoke to be a problem for those using Highway 191, but be prepared to slow down or stop should smoke conditions limit visibility.
The BLM plans to treat approximately 9,000 acres of sagebrush/mountain shrub and aspen vegetation types within a 35,000 acre burn block. Project objectives are to improve watershed condition and fisheries habitat conditions in upper Sage Creek, reduce hazardous fuels, and improve terrestrial wildlife habitat.
Approximately 1,300 acres were treated last fall and approximately 7,700 acres remain to be treated. Grazing Permittees in the allotment have agreed to rest the project area from livestock grazing for two years after the treatment.
Should favorable weather conditions prevail the BLM also plans to treat approximately 600 acres of federal and state lands in Vermillion Creek on the north slope of Pine Mountain. The project will occur within the Vermillion Creek Special Use Riparian pasture of the Pine Mountain grazing allotment.
The treatment will consist of burning Grass Group 1 (short grass foot), Brush Group (brush 2 feet) sagebrush/mountain shrub and riparian vegetation types to improve watershed and wildlife habitat conditions.