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Firefighters work on prescribed burning in the Butterfly Valley area Monday, April 4, including a firehose lay to help keep the fire within firelines. Photo courtesy USFS

Forest Service halts Butterfly Valley prescribed burn due to weather conditions

Prescribed burning in the Butterfly Valley area on the Mount Hough Ranger District of the Plumas National Forest has stopped due to weather and fuel conditions.

Fire managers hoped to treat 61 acres yesterday, but could only accomplish 15 acres because weather and fuel conditions changed and moved outside planned prescription criteria.

It was determined that due to a combination of factors — including increasing temperatures, winds and drying fuels — conditions were not ideal to continue burning and would not improve this week.

Today firefighters are back in the Butterfly Valley area to secure the 15 acres treated yesterday, including mop-up.  They will continue to monitor and patrol the recently treated area.

“Public and firefighter safety is always our highest priority, including during prescribed burning activities,” said Mount Hough District Fuels Technician Dan Patterson.  “The ongoing fuel reduction work in Butterfly Valley is important, but once conditions were outside of prescription, it was necessary to stop under burning.”

The goal this week was to treat approximately 250 acres with under burning within a Defensible Fuel Profile Zone to improve forest health and return fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem.

“We appreciate the cooperation, understanding and flexibility from our local communities as we identify opportunities for fuel reduction using tools including prescribed burning during the spring and fall,” Patterson said.

Unless there is a significant change in conditions, including increased fuel moisture, Mount Hough Ranger District fire managers will shift from prescribed burning activities to preparations for the upcoming summer field and fire season.

“Our wildland firefighters and fire managers have done a tremendous job this spring, along with partners and contractors, to safely and effectively conduct prescribed burning operations on the Mount Hough Ranger District,” said Mount Hough District Ranger Joe Hoffman.  “The work they are doing is extremely valuable, helping protect our local communities, as well as restore fire-adapted and healthy forests.”

For more information on the Plumas National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/plumas, follow the forest on Twitter @USFSPlumas or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas.

Smoke near the edge of a road April 4 during prescribed burning in the Butterfly Valley area. Photo courtesy USFS
Firefighters work on prescribed burning in the Butterfly Valley area Monday. Photo courtesy USFS


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