HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, Oct. 19, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Air Force is planning a prescribed burn Monday through Friday this week on the Utah Test and Training Range’s North Range, which is located north of Interstate 80 between Wendover and Tooele.
Travelers on Interstate 80, near exit 62, may notice fire and smoke during the burn period, said a news release from Hill Air Force Base.
The burn is being accomplished to remove cheat grass, tumbleweed and other invasive species that are overtaking water, nutrients, space and sunlight from the native vegetation, the news release said. Cheat grass and tumbleweed also create hazardous fuel for wildland fires, making them difficult to control in the area during the dry summer months, said Russ Lawrence, manager of Hill AFB’s Natural Resource Program.
“The burn area is approximately 500 acres,” Lawrence said. “This is nearby where we did an aerial spray this week of approximately 600 acres. We have found a combination of spraying and burning is the best approach to remove the invasive species.”
Similar work was tried last year in the same area, but weather conditions prevented the burn from being completed except on approximately 60 acres. A few years earlier, nearby acreage was successfully burned and sprayed. Those sections have since been reseeded.
“We hope to reseed this new burned and sprayed section next year with a diverse mix of vegetation that are more fire resistant to create a tactical fire break,” Lawrence said. “This will help us safely manage any wildland fires before they can get out of control.”