Divide Peak Prescribed Burn to improve vegetation in Sierra Madre Range

Media Contact: Aaron Voos, (307) 745-2323


News Release (PDF)


(SARATOGA, Wyo.)  September 30, 2019 – Medicine Bow National Forest fire crews are hoping to conduct a prescribed burn in the northwest portion of the Sierra Madre Range this fall, as soon as weather conditions and fuel moisture align. The burn will improve vegetation conditions and wildlife habitat, as well as reduce fire danger by mitigating fuel loading.


The burn units are located on National Forest System lands managed by the Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger District (BCH), approximately 25 miles southwest of Saratoga, Wyo.


The primary burn units to be targeted this fall include approximately 250 acres in the Divide Peak area and are part of the Divide Peak Prescribed Burn Project. Located on the northern end of the Sierra Madres, this project area encompasses about 1,600 acres and is expected to require multiple years to complete burning. The last burning on a Divide Peak unit was in spring of 2018.


“Projects like Divide Peak have multiple benefits,” said BCH District Ranger Jason Armbruster. “They improve big game habitat, as well as increase forest and rangeland health and diversity.


“We are grateful for the continuing support of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Platte Valley Habitat Partnership on projects like this.”


Suitable weather and fuel moisture conditions will determine the exact date of these burns. Burning will not take place unless daily ventilation category (smoke dispersal) forecasts are “good” to “excellent” and other weather-related conditions are favorable. Smoke will likely be visible from the Baggs and Saratoga area. Necessary smoke permits will be obtained from the State of Wyoming and adhered to throughout the project.


The burn units are composed of mountain shrubs, grass, and some aspen. Fire behavior models will be used to determine the needed organization to safely complete the burns. USDA Forest Service fire crews will monitor the burn area until all fires are completely out. The fire is expected to burn in a mosaic pattern. Short-term closures during burn operations may be necessary on adjacent Forest roads.


Prescribed burns are used by the Forest Service to benefit wildlife and vegetation. A versatile management tool, the burns can reinvigorate rangeland, mimic historically natural fire disturbances, reduce hazardous fuel buildup, and improve habitat for a variety of wildlife.


For more information about this project, call the BCH Office at (307) 326-2500 or visit the District Office at 2171 Hwy 130, in Saratoga between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Forest information can be found on this website, https://fs.usda.gov/mbr, or you can follow the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland on Twitter, @FS_MBRTB.