Teton Interagency Fire personnel will be burning slash piles created from fuel reduction projects, timber sales and other administrative activities throughout the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park in the coming weeks. Firefighters will burn these piles under low fire behavior conditions resulting from wet weather and snow accumulation. Smoke may be visible from these piles during the day of the ignition and may linger in the area for a few days following.
Fuel reduction piles are only ignited under certain conditions, including favorable smoke dispersal and weather conditions that limit the chance of fire spread. The areas will be monitored by patrols after burning is completed.
Public and firefighter safety is always the number one priority in all burn operations. Smoke from vegetation piles may be visible while piles are lit and burn down over the course of a few days. Fire management staff tend to the piles to assure complete combustion and consumption of all fuels and to monitor burning conditions for potential fire spread. Some smoke may linger in the pile area and in drainages as temperatures drop during the evening. Signs will be posted along travel routes and roadsides to remind travelers to use headlights for safe travel within areas of concern.
Many of the fuel reduction treatments reside in the Wildland Urban Interface, WUI, where park or national forest lands are directly adjacent to communities and infrastructure. The goals for these areas are to increase firefighter and public safety by reducing potential fire intensity and lowering the risk of losing structures to a wildland fire.
Grand Teton National Park – Along the Pacific Creek Road there are more than 100 piles to be burned after mechanical treatments were completed in 2019.-There are numerous other areas with isolated pockets of piles from hazard-tree removal and routine road and trail maintenance throughout the park.
Bridger-Teton National Forest
Kemmerer and Greys River Ranger Districts – Numerous large logging slash piles remain at Big Park and Kelley.-Approximately 50 acres of piles are ready to burn in Lost Creek. This is the final effort of the Star Valley Ranch Project.
Big Piney and Pinedale Ranger Districts – Approximately 150 acres of piles have cured along the Skyline Fuels Reduction Project. This area will take multiple days of ignitions to complete.-Other small groupings of piles can be found across the districts from administrative activities.
Jackson and Blackrock Ranger Districts – Approximately 200 acres of piles have cured along the Phillips Ridge powerline corridor. This is a continuation of the larger Teton to Snake Fuel Reduction Project.-There are 118 acres of piles in the vicinity of Turpin Meadows Recreation Residence from this year’s efforts to increase defensible space on Forest Service land.-Additional piles will be ignited across the districts, including piles around Snow King and Jackson Hole Mountain Resorts.
Due to the specific conditions that need to be in place for pile burning it is hard to predict exactly when work will begin. Smoke and air quality conditions play an integral role in the decision-making process for Teton Interagency fire managers.
More information on these projects is available at www.tetonfires.com.