Hi-Country Estates Fuel Reduction


Hi-Country Estates Pile Burning Winter 2012-Spring 2013

Vicinity Map             Project Map             Information Sheet

This winter and spring the BLM plans to burn piles of juniper cuttings adjacent to Hi-Country Estates Phases 1 & 2.

Project Description: There are a total of 162 acres of piles to be burned, located in eight separate units.  The piles consist primarily of juniper cuttings.  Some units are immediately adjacent to Hi-Country Estates Phase 1 (see map below).  This project is part of an ongoing effort to reduce the fire hazards near Hi-Country Estates and increase the probability of success during wildfire suppression efforts near homes and private land. 

Piles will be burned during winter or spring when adjacent fuel moisture is high and snow or rain will inhibit fire spread outside of the piled materials.  This will occur over several days and likely with periods of time inbetween due to weather and personnel considerations. 

Air Quality: Before igniting the piles, the BLM will coordinate with the Utah Division of Air Quality (DAQ) regarding the clearing index and air quality ratings.  We will continue to monitor the dispersal of smoke and local impacts throughout the prescribed fire to mitigate the impacts to people.  However, if you have a sensitivity to smoke it is still advisable to stay indoors during the prescribed fire.  The BLM follows strict air quality standards regulated by the DAQ and national policy for prescribed fire. 

Notification: Hi-Country Estates Phase 1 will be most affected although smoke may be visible from other locations.  Private landowners adjacent to the burn units were sent a letter to inform them of the work and also to request access in order to perform the work.  If you did not receive a letter you either 1) don’t border the burn unit or 2) no access is needed.

Prior to ignition of piles, the BLM will notify those landowners immediately adjacent to the burn units and make any other special notifications, such as Unified Fire Authority and the 9-1-1 dispatch.  Also, the BLM will notify the homeowner’s association and fire council.  The community-at-large will in turn be notified by the homeowner’s association/fire council. 

Torching:  It is not uncommon when burning piles for an adjacent tree to catch fire or "torch" from the heat or embers.  It would not be possible in a dense juniper woodland to move the piles out of the way of all adjacent trees.  In planning this project, we anticipated that some torching would occur but because the trees are separated from one another by the very nature of thinning the juniper trees, the torching would be isolated.           

Project Purpose:  In the absence of disturbance by fire, juniper have expanded into sagebrush habitat along the Wasatch Front, thereby increasing the hazard to homes and property by wildfire.  Reducing hazardous fuels minimizes fire risk by interrupting the path fire takes. This project creates spacing between tree canopies needed to keep wildfire on the ground or confined to only a few trees where firefighting tools and personnel can be most effective.  The success of this project depends heavily upon the community’s efforts to reduce fire hazards.  By opening the canopy of thick juniper other native plants will thrive, sustaining a variety of wildlife over the long-term such as wild turkey, raptors and mule deer.

Please contact the West Desert District, if you have further questions or concerns regarding this project.  Phone: (801) 977-4300.

Hi-Country Estates Pile Burning Photos

Pile burning on slope near Hi-Country Estates    Fire personnel buring piles    Unburned piles at Hi-Country Estates   Fire personnel monitoring fire effects and weather

Smoke column at Hi-Country Estates prescribed fire    Smokering piles at Hi-Country Estates