LAYTON, Utah, Oct. 7, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Air Force is planning a prescribed burn this week on the Utah Test and Training Range’s North Range.
The burn, from Tuesday to Friday, will take place north of Interstate 80 between Wendover and Tooele, said a news release from Hill Air Force Base.
Travelers on I-80, near Exit 62, may notice fire and smoke during that burn period.
The burn is being accomplished to remove cheatgrass, tumbleweed and other invasive species that are overtaking water, nutrients, space and sunlight from the native vegetation, the news release said.
Cheatgrass 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.
“We just can’t drag equipment into that area to remove the cheatgrass on the 1,100 acres,” Lawrence said, “We will first burn this section and then do an aerial spray in a couple weeks to remove any remaining vegetation.”
Similar work has been done on nearby acreage over the last two years. Those sections will be reseeded soon. After the burn and the spraying, this new burned section will be restored next fall, he said.
“We will seed 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.”
The new vegetation will also be good for the wildlife, especially for two golden eagles, which the Air Force monitors as the pair searches for food.