Pole Mountain Prescribed Burns Postponed
Prescribed burns planned for this week in the northern portion of the Pole Mountain unit have been postponed due to wet weather conditions.
Forest Service Spokesman Aaron Voos said dry weather conditions on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6 originally provided a favorable outlook for possible prescribed burns.
“With prescribed burns, it is often a game of taking the available window of opportunity with the weather whenever you can get it and that usually means you need a little bit of dry weather,” Voos said. “The weather we had Friday and Saturday was great, but then on Sunday it rained over the area so any prescribed burning at least to start this week is on hold until things dry out and we see what happens with the weather.”
Voos said the forecast for this week is calling for more thunderstorms and rain, meaning crews will have to wait for another window of opportunity.
When the burning does begin, Voos said he doesn’t foresee a big impact on recreationalists utilizing the Pole Mountain unit.
“When the crews do decide to do the prescribed burning, it’s typically in areas where people aren’t doing their recreation activities, so they aren’t going to be burning places that have a bike path right through the middle of it or that have dispersed camping sites right in the middle of it.”
Voos said there may be some short term closures of recreation areas or roads, but he estimated the closures would last two days at most.
“The recreating public should not really be impacted,” Voos said.
The burns originally planned for this week are part of the ongoing ten-year Pole Mountain Vegetation Project on the Medicine Bow National Forest in eastern Albany County. Crews will be focusing on the dead understory in stands of large ponderosa pine, as well as juniper patches and deteriorating aspen strands. The forest service uses the burns to mimic historically natural fire disturbances in order to reduce hazardous fuels buildup and improve habitat for native wildlife.
“We’re hopeful that the public can see the benefit of these prescribed fires and if they don’t, they are welcome to get ahold of us and ask questions and go take a look at the results themselves to see what it is that we’re trying to do, “ Voos said. “Hopefully people start to get used to this and it ends up being a really positive thing for the national forest.”
When the burns get going, burn sizes will vary from a few acres to 100 acres at a time. Voos said he doesn’t anticipate that Laramie residents will be able to see the smoke from in town.