Boise Forest prepares for the spring burning season

The Boise National Forest is getting ready to begin its spring burning season, a thought that would have been considered heretical only a generation ago.

As the snow pack begins to recede, fire staff go through their list of projects, places they hope to burn in a controlled fashion before it gets too dry and hot to burn safely. The Lowman and Emmett Ranger Districts each have two projects.

The Lowman has a 680-acre burn just northwest of the Grand-Jean Lodge. It also plans to burn 1,500 acres within the Deadwood river drainage 5-miles northwest of Lowman.

The Emmett District has a 1,132 acre burn located across from the Garden Valley Ranger Station within the Station Creek drainage. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has provided funding for this burn.

The second is a 2,100 acre fire northeast of Crouch up the Middle Fork of the Payette River, within the Boom Creek drainage.

Forest staff will start the fires the by dropping small, chemically treated plastic spheres from a helicopter that ignite after hitting the ground. They hope to keep the fires low and moderate intensity to reduce the accumulation of pine needles, branches, small diameter wood and lower tree limbs to reduce the ability of a summer wildfire reaching the crowns of trees.

They also benefit wildlife habitat by stimulating new grass and shrub growth. The Forest Service determine how to manage smoke and they also let visitors to the areas know what’s up.

Then they wait for favorable atmospheric ventilation and wind to minimize smoke impacts to local communities.

For more information contact Rebecca Swenson at the Lowman Ranger District (259-3361) or Tam Cook at the Emmett Ranger District (365-7015). Further information is available at the Boise National Forest Prescribed Fire Website or the Prescribed Fire Hotline @ 208-373-4208.