The Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Teton Interagency Fire staffs will begin prescribed burning operations this spring on the South Fall unit of the Hoback Fuels Reduction Project. The prescribed burn unit is located 10-miles south of Jackson, Wyoming in the Hoback Junction area.
Current weather and early spring vegetation conditions are favorable for fire crews to meet the project objectives designed to create defensible space. Defensible space is an area around a property or a structure where brush and flammable vegetation has been reduced or removed so that it is more likely that a wildfire could be slowed or stopped. The South Fall project is identified in the Teton County Community Wildfire Protection Plan and is one of five units identified in the larger Hoback Fuels Reduction Project for community fire protection.
Introducing fire in these project areas will increase the sagebrush age class diversity and help stimulate new growth of aspen in the existing aspen stands. Such vegetation treatments using live fire also help reduce the invading mixed conifer trees within areas of grass, sage and aspen.
During an uncontrolled wildfire, these mixed conifer trees ignite and “torch out’ generating flying embers, which can travel long distances creating “spot fires” which then ignite new fires. It is this fire behavior that causes an unwanted fire to spread quickly and uncontrollably. Removing smaller conifer trees positioned closer to surface fire, also reduce the “ladder fuels” limiting a fire from climbing and reaching the tree tops, creating a much hotter, larger and uncontrollable fire situation.
Smoke will be visible at times and may sink along the Snake River corridor of the Hoback area, creating limited visibility. During the cool evenings and early mornings, smoke may produce an inversion very similar to the same effects of fog in a river corridor. Signs will be posted for possible smoke impacts and fire staff will also monitor smoke effects during the burn operations.
The South Fall firing operations are expected to last two days with the support of ground forces and the local interagency helicopter. Fire Fighters will patrol the fire several days afterwards to monitor for any hazards.
Defensible space and fire protection is a community responsibility. Unwanted wildfire is not restricted or limited to jurisdictional boundaries. Fire staff is available to help provide information and offer a home inspection to assist homeowners create a defensible space on their side of the property line. Together we can create a fire safe community and provide protection to firefighters should an unwanted fire start near your neighborhood.