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March 13, 2009

   Sarah Beckwith

BLM Plans Prescribed Burns Throughout Bighorn Basin

BLM firefighter ignites juniper and sagebrush with a terra torch in the Absaroka Hunter Management Area south of Meeteetse.

BLM firefighter ignites juniper and sagebrush with a terra torch in the Absaroka Hunter Management Area south of Meeteetse.

The Worland and Cody Field Offices of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan to conduct prescribed burns and mechanical vegetation treatments at various locations in the Bighorn Basin this spring.

Vegetation treatments are planned for 300 acres of public land in Breteche Creek, on the North Fork of the Shoshone River, and on Little Mountain east of Lovell. Small prescribed burns will be conducted east of Shell on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains, and south of Meeteetse in the Absaroka Hunter Management Area.

Prescribed burns create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas which improves wildlife habitat and increases forage production for livestock. Burns can reduce the hazardous build-up of fuels which lessens the probability of a severe wildfire, remove slash from mechanical vegetation treatments, create small grassy openings in sage grouse habitat, and stop the conversion of productive grasslands into pine and juniper woodlands.

"An additional benefit of these prescribed burns is the creation of landscapes with various-aged sagebrush stands," said Jim Wolf, Prescribed Fire and Fuels Specialist with the BLM Wind River/Bighorn Basin District. "This is particularly important for mule deer and antelope winter ranges."

Also planned this year are a number of mechanical vegetation treatments throughout the basin. The projects include sagebrush mowing, aspen enhancement, juniper thinning, and Russian olive removal. Funding for these projects comes from a variety of public and private sources.

For more information, or to participate in the planning of prescribed burns and vegetation projects for 2010 and 2011, contact Jim Wolf at 307-347-5100 or Cody Lead Rangeland/Fuels Management Specialist Jack Mononi at 307-578-5900. For more information on prescribed burning and vegetation management on public lands, visit http://www.forestsandrangelands.gov/.

Note to media: A full-size image suitable for print can be downloaded by left clicking on the above image, then right clicking on the full-size image to download.

The BLM manages more land – 258 million acres – than any other Federal agency.  This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western States, including Alaska.  The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.  The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

- BLM -

Last updated: 03-13-2009