September 27, 2010
Fire managers on the Phelps Moraine Prescribed Fire decided to postpone burning the 84-acre unit after fire behavior during a test fire exceeded ecological objectives. The fire burned actively through the 5-acre test site, primarily due to unseasonably warm, dry weather. The 45 firefighters assigned to the prescribed fire are remaining in place to keep the test fire within the established perimeter.
The prescribed fire project objectives are to reduce the amount of dead and down trees on the forest floor and to increase spacing between trees, which will reduce the chance of a future wildfire spreading toward developed areas.
“The test fire showed that at the upper end of the prescription—which is the predetermined weather and fuel conditions—the prescribed fire would consume more than our desired objectives,” said Burn Boss Deb Flowers. “We stopped igniting and will re-evaluate burning this unit when we have a cooler, damper weather window.”
Death Canyon Road and the Death Canyon Trail from the trailhead parking area to the Valley Trail junction will remain closed at least through Wednesday September 29. Please check www.tetonfires.com under prescribed fire for updates.
The Phelps Moraine Prescribed Fire, combined with the mechanical treatment completed in 2008, is designed to increase the buffer between a wildfire and developed areas. The primary fire management goal for Grand Teton National Park is to allow the natural process of fire to persist within the park while protecting lives and property. The intent of the Phelps Moraine prescribed fire project is to reduce burnable live and dead vegetation to give higher confidence and more flexibility for managers in response to naturally ignited fires.