A confinement strategy using natural topography features, roads and trails is keeping the Peavine Canyon Fire burning slowly and offering ecological benefits in the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
The Peavine Canyon Fire, burning 22 miles west of Blanding, Utah, was listed Wednesday at 3,904 acres and average flames lengths are 1-2 feet, consuming litter and undergrowth, said Heather McLean, fire prevention technician with the Manti-La Sal National Forest, in a news release issued Thursday.
“A confinement strategy using roads, trails, and landscape features is an effective way to suppress fires,” Monticello District Ranger Michael Diem said. “It provides reduced safety risk to firefighters, reduces the risk of larger more devastating wildfires, and yet ensures benefits to wildlife, watershed health, soils, healthy forests and vegetation.”
On Wednesday, about 0.1 inch of rain was measured near the Peavine Canyon Fire, and Manti-La Sal National Forest officials expect that will dampen fire activity on Thursday.
Seventy-eight people are assigned to the fire. A transition to another Type III incident management team is expected to occur Saturday.
Nearby, the Poison Canyon Fire, burning 23 miles west of Monticello, Utah, is listed at 1,105 acres on Wednesday, and 41 people are assigned to the blaze. Crews are working to protect aspen research areas.
A weather station located near the Poison Canyon Fire recorded 0.39 inch of rain Wednesday, which was expected to dampen fire activity Thursday.
Later this week, cooler and more humid conditions are expected to decrease fire activity on both fires.
Trees, brush and grass within the burn areas have experienced multiple fires and have adapted over time to burning every 10 to 15 years. Natural fires caused by lightning have occurred for hundreds of years, burning with low flame lengths that consumed thick undergrowth, but did not involve the crowns of most trees. Ponderosa pines are an example of this type of fire-adapted forest.
Fire managers want the Peavine and Poison Canyon burn areas to restore fire’s role in the forest. The fire is being carefully managed, and will help restore the landscape to a more natural state, protecting the wilderness into the future, according to the news release.
The Poison Canyon Fire was discovered on July 26 burning in needles under ponderosa pines. This fire is in an area previously planned for a prescribed burn.
Managers consider values at risk, fuel and fire weather conditions, and availability of fire resources in planning their strategy to deal with the fires.
Both fires were started by lightning strikes.
Closures, maps and more information are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/mantilasal/, the Manti-La Sal National Forest website.