Prescribed burn planned near Pack Creek community
Weather conditions will be favorable for fire officials on the Manti-La Sal National Forest to conduct a controlled burn on the Moab/Monticello Ranger District on Saturday, March 5. Forty piles across approximately 15 acres near the Pack Creek community will be burned.
The purpose of this burn is to finish what officials began several years ago to reduce fuels near and adjacent to high value assets on private property, reducing risk of fuels build-up near the community of Pack Creek. The piles were intended for burning quite some time ago, but were unable to be burned due to conditions on the ground when the prior prescribed fire was conducted.
“I want to assure you, the safety of those in the Pack Creek community, the heightened and justifiable sensitivity around fire of any kind, and smoke, is foremost on my mind,” said Michael Engelhart, Moab/Monticello district ranger.
Smoke will be visible, but winds are projected to be favorable. They will provide enough wind for good consumption of these fuels, not too much so that the wind drives the fire from the targeted fuels, and are projected to lift the majority of smoke out of the valley to the north and away from homes in Pack Creek.
Engelhart explained in preparing for any prescribed fire burn, officials must have a documented burn plan, which sets parameters for ignition. These parameters included factors such as fuel moisture, humidity, wind, etc.
“We must be within these parameters, which we often call a ‘prescription,’ in order to initiate the burn,” Engelhart said. “Right now, Saturday’s conditions look likely to be within that prescription. It is important that we seize opportunities where staffing availability and prescription align, as the window to conduct prescribed burns under favorable conditions is often narrow.”
Safety remains the number one priority for officials. Manti-La Sal will have a robust number of personnel assisting with this burn.
The county fire wardens of San Juan and Grand County will be on site with their engines as an additional contingency. A public information officer will be on scene to answer any questions from members of the community.