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March 9, 2007
Contact: Lorraine Keith

BLM Plans Prescribed Burns in Spring 2007 

The Rock Springs Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will continue prescribed burning operations in the Salt Wells Basin south of Rock Springs.  The burn is planned for the Salt Wells grazing allotment east of Highway 191 and is known as the “Salt Wells Basin Prescribed Burn”.  Project operations began last October but, were suspended due to poor weather.

Typical prescribed burn in the Rock Springs area three days after burning.
Typical prescribed burn in the Rock Springs area three days after burning.

The BLM is planning to begin burning operations in the Salt Wells Basin as early as March 19, 2007.  Actual operations dates will be dictated by weather conditions.

The Salt Wells Basin project is located approximately 30 to 35 miles south of Rock Springs, Wyoming.  The project area is encompassed 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.  Operations will occur completely within the Salt Wells grazing allotment.  Grazing Permittees in the allotment have agreed to rest the project area from livestock grazing for two years after the treatment.

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.

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.

Typical prescribed burn in the Rock Springs area two months after burning.
Typical prescribed burn in the Rock Springs area two months after burning.

This project is expected to take five to ten days.  The boundary of the project has been signed.  Travel on Highway 191 South should be uninterrupted however, 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.

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.  According to Fuels Specialist Thor Stephenson “the treatment will consist of burning sagebrush, sagebrush/mountain shrub and riparian vegetation types to improve watershed and wildlife habitat conditions”.

The BLM would like to thank the public land users in advance for their cooperation with this important public land management activity.

For further information contact Thor Stephenson at the BLM office in Rock Springs at 307-352-0369.


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