Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quigley burn completed

Fire set to help aspens


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

A controlled burn near Quigley Creek near Hailey was ignited and extinguished within a single day, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

The fire, six miles northeast of Hailey, was prescribed to burn slash piles of pine and fir trees that had been cut and piled in the summer and fall of 2009. BLM spokeswoman Barbara Bassler said crews finished burning the conifer slash piles on Monday, and rain on Tuesday morning extinguished the last of the flames. The timing of the fire was designed to coincide with expected rain or snow, as the BLM stated that precipitation was need for fire containment.

Crews cleaned up nearly 1,000 acres of aspen trees through the burn, Bassler said. The fire was meant to help aspen regeneration, as aspens thrive when not crowded by intrusive firs and pines.

Fire also aids in aspen reproduction, as aspens regenerate primarily through a process called "suckering," by which new trees sprout from the root system of the entire stand. Fire and damage to other trees in a stand stimulate the process, resulting in systems that can span acres and contain thousands of trees.

The BLM stated that aspens enhance wildlife habitat and improve the health of the watershed.

Bassler said the agency will monitor aspen health and consider further action again next spring.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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