OSBURN – Things may get a little smoky in the Osburn area for the next few days, but residents have no reason to worry. United States Forest Service personnel are currently conducting controlled burn operations in the Two Mile area, roughly 1-2 miles north of Interstate 90.
Beginning Tuesday morning, ground crews with the assistance of a helicopter will be lighting up specific parts of wilderness along Two Mile Gulch drainage- going as far north as the Two Mile Saddle (see map).
With guidance from the ground crews, the helicopter team will drop hundreds of small fuel-filled ping pong like balls onto designated areas. This method helps crews cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.
USFS explains that the primary objectives of this burn project are:
•Reduce hazardous fuels in the wildland urban interface.
•Establish and maintain long-lived early seral species and resilient forest structure.
•Maintain and improve dry-site wildlife and big game habitat
Individuals who live, recreate, or hunt near the burn area are responsible for understanding your location relative to the project areas. Trails and burn areas may be temporarily closed to the public to ensure safety. Areas will be surveyed prior to ignition as an attempt to ensure that no people are present.
USFS asks that individuals avoid burn areas due to hazardous conditions such rapid and unpredictable flame spread, falling snags and trees, heavy smoke and limited visibility, and rolling rocks and logs.
The Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests plans to burn up to 300 acres beginning Spring 2018 (April-June) and continuing in Fall 2018 (September-October) if the desired weather, soil moisture, and smoke dispersal conditions are met.
Smoke may be visible in the area for several days after the burning phase of the prescribed fire is completed. The Forest Service will monitor the fires until they are completely out.
Ignition of the prescribed fires will cease if there is a change in burning conditions and management objectives are not being met.
For more information on the project, visit www.northidahorxfire.com for schedule and specific locations.
If you are particularly sensitive to smoke, or would like to be notified each day of the burn, please contact Sarah Jerome at 208-783-2363 or visit the USFS office at 173 Commerce Drive, Smelterville, ID 83868.
The office phone number is 208-783-2363 and office hours are Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.