Pile burning continues across the Plumas this week
The Plumas National Forest announced that its firefighters continue to make “great progress on pile burning on the forest” due to excellent weather conditions.
Conditions permitting, beginning today, Feb. 7, the Feather River Ranger District plans to treat approximately 63 acres of mechanical piles created through post-fire recovery efforts at Feather Falls. This work will clear the area as Mooretown Rancheria continues restoration and repair work along the trail and road at the popular recreation site. Fire managers anticipate additional burning in the area next fall. Butte County Rural Conservation District, the TREX prescribed fire training exchange and Chico State University may also assist with the pile burning at Feather Falls.
Last week, the Feather River Ranger District completed pile burning along Bald Rock Road and at Bald Rock Trailhead, as well as burning 25 piles of scotch broom near Magalia.
On the Mount Hough Ranger District, pile burning is planned to resume, conditions permitting, in Butterfly Valley. Approximately 22 acres of piles near Blackhawk Road are identified for treatment.
Last week, despite clear weather, conditions were still too snowy near Antelope Lake. Firefighters ignited piles in the area over two days. The approximately 20 acres of piles ignited were not meeting the 80 percent pile consumption objectives. Efforts shifted to focus on piles in Butterfly Valley where conditions were more favorable.
Approximately 40 acres of pile burning were completed between Thursday and Sunday in Butterfly Valley. The storm over the weekend helped moderate conditions.
Pile burning on both ranger districts is being done with support from contract firefighting crews with Firestorm Wildland Fire Suppression, Inc.
Smoke is expected to be visible in nearby communities, including Quincy and Meadow Valley. There are no expected significant long-term impacts to nearby communities. Short duration, minor smoke impacts are expected along neighboring forest roads, as well as along California State Highway 70 outside Quincy. Visibility on roads in the project areas may be reduced, especially early in the morning and late evening as smoke settles. Drivers in the area should use caution.
“Due to the combined effects of a favorable weather pattern, the hard work and support of partners and contractors, and the commitment of our local firefighters, we are making great progress with pile burning so far this season, especially near communities and as part of post-fire recovery efforts,” said Plumas National Forest Assistant Fire Management Officer Mitch Wilson.
“We appreciate the patience of our eastside communities, including Graeagle, while we prepare for a window of opportunity there,” Wilson said. “The great snowpack we received in December and early January, while a gift, is delaying our ability to make the same progress on the Beckwourth Ranger District piles this season.”
If weather conditions become unfavorable, including increased or gusty winds in the area, burning will stop until conditions improve. Firefighters will be monitoring conditions and the burning piles until fires are out.
For more information on the Plumas National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/plumas or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas.