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September 16, 2008

    Sarah Beckwith

BLM Plans Prescribed Burns Throughout Bighorn Basin

The Worland and Cody Field Offices of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announce plans to conduct prescribed burns and mechanical vegetation treatments at various locations in the Bighorn Basin this fall, beginning September 17.

The 300 acre Upper Grass Creek burn will take place 18 miles south of Meeteetse in the Absaroka Front Hunter Management Area. Hunters in Elk Unit 64 should be aware that burning operations will be taking place throughout the fall although efforts will be made to avoid burning on hunting season opening days and peak weekends. It is expected that this burn will have active fire within the perimeter until a rain or snowstorm occurs. The project area begins at the cattle guard near the mouth of Raspberry Draw about 3.5 miles west of the LU Cow Camp, and continues west to the Shoshone National Forest boundary.

Other planned prescribed burns on public lands this fall should not interfere with recreational activities. They are the 300 acre Battle Creek burn, 15 miles east of Shell, and the 150 acre Polecat Bench burn, 10 miles north of Powell.

Applying prescribed fire to the landscape mimics natural fire return intervals and enhances watershed conditions, improves forage conditions for wildlife and livestock, and improves wildlife habitat, all while reducing uncharacteristic fuel loading so that when wildfire occurs it is easier and less costly to control.

"The BLM would like to thank public land users in advance for their cooperation with this important public land improvement activity," said Jim Wolf, Prescribed Fire and Fuels Specialist with the BLM Worland Field Office. The BLM asks that all travelers slow down and use caution in the event there is smoke in the area.

The burns are a cooperative project with the LU Ranch Co., Wyoming Division of Forestry, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The majority of funding for these projects comes from the congressionally appropriated National Fire Plan.

The BLM is also planning fuels and vegetation treatment projects for 2009 and 2010. Please contact Jim Wolf at 303-347-5136 or worland_wymail@blm.gov if you would like to participate in the planning. For more information on prescribed burning and fuels management visit http://www.fireplan.gov/.