Big Timber, MT – As the weather turns cooler and wetter, the fire and fuels managers of the Yellowstone Ranger District are preparing for prescribed burning beginning potentially this weekend.
“We never quite dried out to the extent of other areas in Montana,” said Ashley Sites, Fire Management Officer for the Yellowstone and Gardiner Ranger Districts. “The recent moisture and anticipated weather predictions could provide an opportunity for us to do some prescribed burning throughout the fall.”
If weather and moisture conditions are right, the Yellowstone District will conduct two prescribed burns this fall. Each burn will require one to two days of ignition, and will have firefighters on site until the burns are secure.
The 75 acre prescribed burn near West Bridger Creek is within the Sweetgrass Restoration and Resiliency project and could be ignited as soon as the first week of September if conditions allow. This burn is designed to promote the regeneration of ponderosa pine trees, restore and promote open grasslands, and return the area to a more natural ecological system with lower intensity and more frequent fires.
The purpose of the 500 acre prescribed burn near Elk Creek is to reduce fuel loading, especially where conifers are encroaching on meadows and aspen stands. This will improve public and firefighter safety in the event of an unwanted fire ignition. It is also intended to benefit species that thrive in grasslands and aspen.
No area, trail, or road closures are planned during the burns, although traffic control will be implemented if necessary. Additionally, fire officials urge caution if anyone plans to be nearby during or shortly after ignition.
For further information regarding the planned prescribed burns, please contact the Yellowstone Ranger District Office at (406)222-1892.