Fire crews from the Bureau of Land Management in northeast California will take advantage of favorable burning conditions this fall and winter to complete prescribed fire projects aimed at reducing hazardous fuels, improving stands of aspen trees and benefitting wildlife.
The Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville plans several pile burning projects.
Near Eagle Lake, crews will work in a 45-acre project area near the Stones-Bengard community and a 35-acre area near the north shore. Pile burning is also planned at a 75-acre project site on the south side of Horse Mountain, northeast of Horse Lake. Smoke may be visible north of Eagle Lake, from the Willow Creek Valley and from Highway 395 in northern Lassen County.
The debris piles are from juniper thinning and hazardous fuel reduction projects completed earlier.
A juniper pile burning project is planned by the Alturas Field Office for the Hayden Hill area, about 50 miles north of Susanville. The juniper thinning and burning, designed to improve sage-grouse habitat, covers two project areas totaling about 1,990 acres.
The Surprise Field Office, Cedarville, plans to work on projects designed to improve aspen stands.
The Big Bally Project is a broadcast burn planned for a 44-acre site about 15 miles east of Fort Bidwell in northeast Modoc County. The Starvation Project will focus on a five-acre site near Dodge Reservoir, about 19 miles east of Madeline in northeast Lassen County.
BLM officials said the projects are designed to remove dead wood and encroaching juniper and brush within the stands, improving their health and increasing the density of aspen, leafy plants and meadow grasses. Additionally, the projects are expected to improve habitat for cavity nesting birds, small mammals and larger species including mule deer.
Crews will be careful to preserve old growth juniper and “archaeological” aspens, old trees with carvings called arborglyphs that were left by early sheepherders or settlers.
Surprise fire crews will also conduct a five-acre prescribed burn near the Barrel Springs Road in northeast Modoc County to assist researchers from the University of Utah who are studying the effects of fire on traditional food plants used by Native Americans.
Fires will be ignited only when weather allows for safe and successful burning and smoke dispersion.