Bureau of Land Management (BLM) firefighters performed a prescribed burn in the Ray Mesa area south of Moab on Monday, Nov. 18. [Photo by Jason Kirks / BLM]

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) firefighters lighted a prescribed burn in the Ray Mesa area south of Moab. The Ray Mesa prescribed fire is part of an ongoing fuels reduction and vegetation restoration treatment that has been ongoing for ten years. Dense flammable pinyon and juniper vegetation under the Ponderosa pine was previously thinned, piled and burned now the area is ready for a low intensity surface burn.

Ray Mesa is home to some of the last old growth Ponderosa pine stands within the boundaries of the BLM Moab Field Office. Ponderosa pine is a fire dependent species. This low intensity prescribe fire will lessen the potential for high severity wildland fire and help restore ecosystem health for this 24-acre Ponderosa pine stand.

Fourteen firefighters from the BLM Canyon Country Fire Zone conducted firing operations and monitored fire behavior. Burning began about 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 18 and ended at 4 p.m. that afternoon.

The mid-November weather provided great prescribed burning conditions to generate low intensity fire under the trees.

“Some of the fire effects we desired were to consume the needle layer under the Ponderosa’s and burn some of the oak-brush in the area,” said Jason Kirks with the BLM.

Firefighters from the BLM will continue to check the burn area until the next wet storm to make sure the fire goes out. As of Monday some smoke was still visible.