Grand Teton National Park Plans Spring Prescribed Fire Projects

April 5, 2010
Interagency News Release

An early spring means opportunities for completing prescribed fires, including the Elbo West burn that was originally planned for last fall. As soon as weather permits, Teton interagency fire personnel and Grand Teton National Park natural resource managers plan to burn the 182-acre Elbo West unit, which is part of a 4,000-acre native rangeland restoration project along Grand Teton National Park’s east boundary. This project involves a multistage effort to convert pasture land back to native vegetation as part of the 2007 Bison and Elk Management Plan for the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park.

Located southwest of the Teton Science Schools’ campus and Ditch Creek Road, the Elbo West burn unit was an irrigated hayfield prior to the 1970s. Despite a decades-long recovery time, non-native grasses and a host of noxious weeds still dominate the area.

As soon as vegetation dries, fire managers also plan to burn a one-acre section of a restoration project that lies between Kelly Warm Springs and the Warm Springs Road. The burn will remove thatch and dead grass so resource managers can apply herbicide directly to cheatgrass that is spreading on the site.

Firefighters will only ignite burn units when favorable weather and fire behavior conditions exist. Smoke will be evident during the day of the burn. Smoke from larger prescribed fires may persist for several days after, especially in mountain valleys during early morning and evening hours. Local residents and visitors should be aware that minimal traffic restrictions may occur during the burn for safety concerns and fire equipment access.