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Big Piney, Wyo. – The Bridger-Teton National Forest plans to conduct a prescribed burn in the Cottonwood area of the Big Piney Ranger District this spring.
The primary objective of the burn is to increase aspen regeneration and reduce encroaching conifer. Additional benefits will be to increase forage conditions for wildlife habitat and reduce hazardous fuels build-up while restoring fire adaptive ecosystems.
“Fire is a very good tool to help bring back these aspen stands,” said East Zone Fire Manager Officer Paul Hutta, “since the aspen are shade intolerant, removing the overstory of conifers will allow for the formation of new vegetation to grow.”
The Cottonwood II prescribed burn is located approximately 20 miles west of the town of Daniel, WY, North and South Cottonwood drainages and on Bare Pass near Red Castles. The project consists of several units totaling 1,093 acres. Fire Managers have already successfully treated approximately 482 acres over the last couple of seasons.
“Unit 4 on the South Cottonwood Road is about 118 acres, which is the area we are looking at burning this spring if conditions become favorable to do so,” said Fuels Specialist Paul Swenson, “we had great success with the four units we burned last spring and fall and anticipate this one will meet our objectives as well.”
Burning may begin the last week of April and could potentially last through May. Actual ignition will be dependent on meeting strict parameters for weather and fire behavior conditions. Forest users may experience temporary smoky conditions in the vicinity of the project area and smoke will be visible from the towns of Big Piney and Pinedale. Hazards associated with fire such as snags, hot stump holes, rolling debris, and residual hot spots will be present inside and adjacent to the burn unit. Interagency fire managers will attempt to minimize any adverse impacts as the burn proceeds.
This vegetation treatment is an interagency cooperative effort with Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, Sublette County Unified Fire, and Teton Interagency Fire.
For more information about this project, contact the Big Piney Ranger District at 307-276-3375 or visit www.tetonfires.com.