Hayfield Restoration Burn Planned

September 1, 2010 
Teton Interagency fire personnel and Grand Teton National Park natural resource managers plan to burn the 42-acre Elbo West unit as soon as weather permits. The Elbo West unit is part of a 4,000-acre native rangeland restoration project in Grand Teton. The project involves a multistage effort to convert pasture land back to native vegetation as outlined in the 2007 Bison and Elk Management Plan for the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park.

The Elbo West was originally a 182-acre unit, but after park personnel discovered a sharp-tailed grouse lek (a mating arena) on the proposed site this spring, resource managers opted to leave the lek area undisturbed while the birds were in the vicinity. Instead, fire managers burned the Elbo East unit during the spring project and have also removed the lek area from the burn planned for this fall.

Located southwest of the Teton Science School-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.

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.