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Prescribed Burning Sends Smoke Across Honey Lake Valley

~Lassen National Forest photo
~Lassen National Forest photo

Updated 3:35p.m. Lassen County residents have begun playing the annual game of ‘where is that smoke coming from?’ as a controlled burn on the Plumas National Forest has sent smoke drifting into the Honey Lake Valley. Today’s smoke, from a fire burning near Keddie Ridge, began to head our direction late this morning and there is no estimate of how long we will see the effects of the controlled burn in the valley.

Here are a list of other prescribed burns planned for our area during the next few months.

These initiatives are designed to reduce the threat and severity of catastrophic fires across the landscape by removing highly flammable vegetation from the forest.

The following spring burn projects are tentatively scheduled:

The Almanor Ranger District is planning to implement a prescribed fire in the Cold Spring Hill area.

• Cold Spring Hill-A 100 acre unit located 5 miles west of Butte Meadows will be burned. The unit is near the Murphy Trail-head on the 26N15 road. Smoke should not impact any major highways, but could be visible from Highway 32. This burn will take place in the next few months weather permitting.

The Hat Creek Ranger District is planning to implement prescribed burning within three (3) main areas, including the Juniper Hole area, Old Station, and in the Blacks Ridge area.

• Juniper Hole – Three units totaling approximately 750 acres along Forest Road 33N89Y and within the Juniper Hole area, east of Summit Lake. Smoke may be visible from Highway 44 and Old Station.
• Old Station Area-This proposed burning area consists of 5 different units totaling more than 600 acres. These burns will take place from April until completed or the burn window has is closed. Locations of these units are south of the community of Old Station, along State Highway 44/89 and within the popular dispersed camping area of Twin Bridges. Smoke will be visible from Highway 44 /89 and Old Station.
• Blacks Ridge – Hat Creek Ranger District plans to burn one unit consisting of 300 acres located off the 22 Road. If conditions and time allow, a second unit of 280 acres may also be burned. Smoke from these units will be visible from the community of Pittville and possibly from Fall River Mills.

The Eagle Lake Ranger District is preparing to implement the spring prescribed fire program. The district burning will focus on three (3) areas, including the Crater Mountain area, Logan Mountain area and around Dow Butte. Smoke from these burns may be visible from Susanville, the Eagle Lake Basin, Westwood, Spalding, from Highways 44 and 139 and County Roads A1 and A21. Burning will begin as weather conditions allow for safe and efficient burning conditions.

• Caboose and Elk DFPZ’s-In the Crater Mountain area consisting of approximately 350 acres.
• Summit DFPZ- located in the Logan Mountain area, consisting of approximately 465 acres.
• Houseman and Signal DFPZ’s- around Dow Butte, with a combined total acres of 375

Burning could continue throughout the spring, as long as air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and fuel moisture remain within desired ranges. Notices and signs will be posted along major roadways during active burn operations and while smoke remains.

The prescribed burn program is designed to:
• Reduce hazardous fuels – including dead and fallen trees, dead branches, brush, and ladder fuels – that can feed wildfires.
• Restore fire-resilient forests to a more natural state by reintroducing fire into ecosystem.
• Improve understory productivity and vigor, increase and renew forage for wildlife, and increase nutrients released to the soil from consumed fuels.

Prescribed fires are also used to help create Defensible Fuel Profile Zones (DFPZs), areas where a combination of thinning and prescribed fire treatments are used to reduce surface, ladder, and canopy fuels. The DFPZs are designed to facilitate fire suppression efforts, protect communities adjacent to national forest lands during a wildfire, and help return the landscape to one that is more fire-resilient.

For more information about the upcoming Almanor Ranger District burn project, contact Jeff St. Clair, District Fuels Officer at (530) 258-5450.

For more information about Hat Creek Ranger District burn projects, contact Dale Newby, District Fuels Officer at (530) 336-5521.

For more information about Eagle Lake Ranger District burn projects, contact Chuck Lewis, District Fuels Specialist at (530) 252-5832.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor


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