Fire managers are making plans to burn up to 1,000 acres in the Lackey Basin, 5 miles north of the town of La Sal, from Saturday, June 18, through Tuesday, June 28.
Smoke from the prescribed fire will be highly visible to the public driving on U.S. Highway 191 and state Route 46.
Before the burn, fire personnel will be out on the ground checking conditions to make sure they are right for the best results. A helicopter with special equipment and trained personnel will be used to efficiently and safely apply fire on the ground, while firefighters and engines will monitor the edge of the fire.
“If conditions do not meet specifications, we won’t burn,” Moab/Monticello District Ranger Mike Diem said. “This is a pretty large area, of concern to a lot of people, and we want to make sure we do it safely and right.”
Trails #100, 029 and 035 are expected to be closed during the ignition phase of the operation. Warnings will be posted at those trailheads, and visitors are encouraged to avoid camping in the nearby area.
The prescribed burn aims to restore aspen by mimicking natural disturbance, reducing the number of conifers and promoting new growth in aspen stands.
The Forest Service says that wildlife species such as mule deer, elk and raptors will benefit from renewed growth and more open, grassy areas. Habitat for other species of concern will be enhanced as well, and the potential for catastrophic wildfire in a watershed will be reduced, the agency says.
The public is encouraged to use public lands elsewhere during active prescribed burns.
Fire managers work to minimize smoke impacts to area residents and visitors. However, smoke from prescribed fires may affect your health. For more information, go to: www.fs.fed.us/air/smoke.htm.
Residents can continue to report new wildfires to the Moab Interagency Fire Center at 435-259-1850. District information is available in Moab at 435-259-7155 and in Monticello at 435-587-2041.
For updates, follow the Manti-La Sal National Forest on Facebook.
Recreationists advised to avoid area from June 18-28