Winter delay welcomed by forest service |

Winter delay welcomed by forest service

by Andy Bourelle

While skiers and snowboarders may not be too stoked about it, the U.S. Forest Service appreciates Old Man Winter’s restraint thus far this season.

The warmer-than-normal temperatures are giving the agency a chance to try to get caught up on its prescribed burns, which were restricted earlier this fall because of poor atmospheric conditions.

“We’re usually finished (this time of year) due to too-moist conditions,” said Mark Johnson, fire management officer for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “It’s a little different this year.”

Five acres of pile burning is planned for today near North Upper Truckee Road and Mt. Rainier Drive. Another 10 to 15 acres of pile burning is planned near Pioneer Trail and Garbage Dump Road Thursday and Friday. The burns are weather-dependent.

Pile burns are the last phase of forest-thinning techniques implemented by the Forest Service.During the summer, slash and dead logs were put into piles which will now be burned.

The Forest Service had planned to administer several hundred acres worth of pile burns this fall; however, atmospheric conditions prevented much of the work. Smoke likely wouldn’t have dissipated as quickly as the Forest Service wanted. Johnson said conditions now are good for prescribed burning.

Because the ground is somewhat moist, the high winds present at Tahoe the past few days shouldn’t cause the fires to get out of hand. In fact, the wind likely will help move the smoke out of the area.

“We really encourage folks to stop by and see what we’re doing,” Johnson said. “We’re going to have an information booth set up at Pioneer Trail. We’d like to let people know what’s going on.”

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