HomeNewsArticle Display

Air Force plans prescribed burn on Utah Test and Training Range

Firefighters conduct a controlled burn on a section of the Base Operations and Readiness Training Area April 27, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The prescribed burn targeted overgrown vegetation around structures used by the department’s technical rescue program members and other partner emergency-services for training. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Firefighters oversee a prescribed burn on a section of the Base Operations and Readiness Training Area in 2018 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The Air Force plans a prescribed burn Oct. 8-11 on the Utah Test and Training Range’s North Range, which is located north of Interstate 80 between Wendover and Tooele. 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. 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 a pair of golden eagles the Air Force monitors as they roam the area looking for food.

For more information about the burn, contact the Hill AFB public affairs office at 801-775-3652.