How to help: Northern California wildfire relief

Controlled burns begin in Spanish Fork area

Information from Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests

SPANISH FORK, Utah – Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest officials announced crews will implement fuel reduction projects in the Sheep Creek and Vernon areas in the Spanish Fork Ranger District starting this week.

The Sheep Creek project is 510 acres, with 207 acres planned for riparian areas and 303 acres in juniper encroached sagebrush meadows.

Fire personnel plan to conduct a prescribed burn in the Sheep Creek area May 8 – May 31, when weather conditions allow.

The project area is located in Utah County, about 30 miles east southeast of Spanish Fork, Utah, and northwest of Soldier Summit from Highway 6.

The burn unit includes approximately 5,660 acres.

This prescribed burn is part of a vegetation project that included mechanical treatment in 2013.

By reducing hazardous fuels this project will help to minimize the risk of large-scale
wildfires to private landowners, structures, and natural resources, while restoring
fire-adaptive ecosystems.

Another purpose and need for this project is to improve and maintain wildlife habitat, regenerate aspen stands and reduce encroaching conifers.

The method used for these projects is called “prescribed burning” because the area
will only be burned when certain pre-planned conditions exist.

Air temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture and wind speed and direction are some of the requirements that must be met before burning begins.

Prescribed burns will be ignited when fuel moistures and weather forecasts allow for good smoke dispersal away from population centers.

Qualified fire personnel will use hand held drip torches, terra torch and or plastic sphere dispenser (PSD) devices from the edges of the road.

Engine and hand crews will monitor the fire area until it is completely out.

Smoke may also be visible during the burn and is expected to linger during the evening and early morning hours.

The burn area, roads and trails leading into the burn area will be temporarily closed to the public on the day of the burn and possibly the day after for firefighters and public safety.

The Vernon area consists of 1,659 acres of juniper removal in sagebrush encroached ecosystems.

The purpose of this project is to restore sagebrush habitat for the greater sage-grouse, improve mule deer spring/fall habitat, and reduce hazardous fuels.

Work on this project is expected to begin after June 1.