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NPClwNF Prescribed Burns 2019

Unit Information

Nez Perce - Clearwater National Forests
U.S. Forest Service
903 3rd Street
Kamiah, ID 83536

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Smoke rises from midslope to the ridge as the fire burns slowly downslope.Image options: [ Full Size ]

The bold entries at the top of this page are the most recent. Please scroll down for more in-depth information on the planned projects.

September 23 – Many of the below fires will remain burning until a significant moisture event completely extinguishes them. They may occasionally produce smoke that can be seen from greater distances but will mostly be visible only when in close proximity to the fire.

September 6 – Ignitions were completed on the 550 acre Wickiup project east of Grangeville yesterday. Crews will remain assigned to the burn to ensure control lines are secure.

The Long Creek project (unit 2C) only burned 250 acres on Sept. 5. Due to considerations of the potential smoke impacts to the east, the adjustment was made to reduce planned acres by one half. Unit 2G was not ignited. Fire in this unit will be allowed to burn naturally. However, the next week’s forecast isn’t very conducive to much fire growth on any of these projects.

The Barnard Junction burn (8/28) has burned an estimated 450 acres. The Moose Kelly burn (8/30) has burned an estimated 350 acres. The Weitas burn (9/2), has burned an estimated 500 acres. Acreage stated includes islands of unburned vegetation within the perimeter.

All fires are being allowed to burn and displaying only low to the occasional moderate fire behavior. Firefighters will continue to monitor the prescribed fires and take any necessary actions if a fire is no longer meeting objectives. See the maps for the projects in the "Maps" tab above.

2019 Planned Projects

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are planning to conduct multiple prescribed fires this summer. Depending on weather and fuel conditions, the burns could take place anytime beginning from August 15 through September 30. Helicopters will be used for ignitions on these remote burns. Trailheads and roads that lead into these areas will be posted with caution signs and a map of the prescribed burn locations.

The planned prescribed fire projects by ranger district are listed below. Please note that fire managers predict that it is unlikely all units will be achieved this year. Additionally, the acres listed represent the total acres in the project areas. Only a portion of those acres will be ignited. Once a fire is ignited, it will be closely monitored and allowed to burn around the landscape naturally, with the potential to impact the total acres in the project areas. Similar to wildland fires managed for resource benefits, this process will likely occur over several weeks as the fire progresses. The fires will burn until a significant “incident ending” precipitation event occurs. We will be actively engaged in the monitoring and management of these burns until then.

Salmon River Ranger District – 550 acres planned:

· Wickiup – 550 acres located 10 miles east of Grangeville between Forest Service roads #1105 and #9435, near Ralph Smith Creek

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District – 3832 acres planned:

· Weitas – 2,956 acres located 10 miles north of Lochsa Historical Ranger Station between Weitas Creek trail #20 and Weitas Ridge Trail #173

· Coolwater Ridge – 876 acres located seven miles northeast of Lowell, ID just north of the Coolwater Ridge Road #317

North Fork Ranger District – 10,281 acres planned:

· Barnard Junction – 7,066 acres located 25 miles northeast of Pierce, south of Forest Service Road #250, near Junction Peak Lookout, Twin Peaks and the Kelly Creek Work Center

· Moose Kelly – 1,229 acres located 14 miles east of Kelly Creek Work Center, near the junction of Kelly Creek and Bear Creek as well as near Kelly Lake by the Montana border

· Long Creek – 1,986 acres located 16 miles north of Kelly Creek Work Center, near Long Creek Ridge and Goose Ridge

See maps of the project areas in the “Maps” tab

The primary objective of these burns is to improve wildlife habitat and promote long-term ecosystem integrity and sustainability by reintroducing fire to the landscape and reducing the risk of high-severity wildland fire. With typically lower intensity burning, prescribed fires promote fire resilient trees and forests by reducing small tree densities, increasing the height of tree canopies, and reducing surface fuels such as woody debris, grass and shrubs.

The Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) are long time partners in the development of all of these projects to benefit Elk habitat.

Why summer burning?

While these “summer burns” are only a few weeks earlier than our traditional fall burns, we can take advantage of seasonal attributes typically not present in the fall, in order to accomplish our objectives. These attributes include:

· Longer days provides the fire more opportunity to actively burn before high relative humidity

· Drier conditions in areas

· Historical time frames when wildfires would have naturally burned in these areas

· Complements vegetative effects we get from spring burns in elk forage

Smoke Management

Fire managers will work closely with the Idaho/Montana Airshed Group, the National Weather Service, and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to ensure that smoke impacts are minimized. The decision to ignite on any given day will depend on favorable weather conditions and the need to reduce smoke effects as much as possible. Smoke from these prescribed fires will be much less than what would be expected from a wildfire. If smoke concentrations approach air quality standards fire ignition may be delayed until air quality improves. Residual smoke may be visible for up to 2 weeks following ignition, but most of the smoke from the fires is anticipated to dissipate 1-2 days after ignition. It is possible that smoke may settle into the valleys in Montana.

Please look for the DEQ web pages in the “Related Links” section below.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypePrescribed Fire
Coordinates46.229 latitude, -116.032 longitude