Resource Management

Prescribed Fires

The use of prescribed fire is a growing program intended to return fire to the ecosystem to restore healthy ecosystems and reduce the potential for catastrophic wildfires. A healthy ecosystem is more resistant to severe fire, disease, and insect infestations.

The Forest Service and other land management agencies use prescribed fire as a tool to maintain or improve the health of the land. Forest managers burn over 10,000 acres each year in order to accomplish specific resource objectives. Two of these objectives are to reduce hazardous fuel buildups and improve range and wildlife habitat. Prescribed fires are carefully planned by using information about precipitation, wind, fuel moisture and other elements to determine the best conditions to burn and meet the objectives. Prescribed fires are usually ignited by hand with drip torches or by helicopter.

Why have a Prescribed Fire?

  • Many plant and wildlife species depend on fire’s presence in the ecosystem to create the conditions they need to flourish.
  • Without fire, many ecosystems become stagnant and lose their diversity.
  • Larger, more intense fires result in more significant impacts to water, soil and air resources than a managed prescribed fire.
  • Past fire management policies and unnatural accumulations of dead wood and vegetation have resulted in some fires burning hotter and larger causing safety concerns for firefighters and surrounding communities.
  • Fire is an integral part of ecosystems and needs to be carefully restored to fire-adapted ecosystems.
  • Hazardous fuel reduction includes prescribed fire, mechanical treatments such as thinning, and chemical applications.
  • Our goal is to treat landscapes in order to restore ecosystem health and function.
  • A healthy forest is more resistant to severe fire, disease, and insects.
  • Research on large catastrophic fires shows that active management in the form of thinning and prescribed burns can lessen the intensity and adverse effects of a wildland fire.
    Prescribed Fire Frequently Asked Questions
Photo of an elk in habitat after an area had burned.

Burns provide a variety of habitat for wildlife by rejuvenating vegetation.

Photo of lightening.

Lightning caused fires are an important part of forest ecosystems

Photo of firefighters performing suppression on a fire.

Fire suppression has caused an environment prone to catastrophic fires

Photo of the understory burning.

Frequent understory burns historically cleansed ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forests of dead and down fuel, preventing catastrophic fires.


Possible implementatio of prescribed burns listed below

Spanish Fork Ranger District
Sheep Creek News Release Map

Logan Ranger District: Blacksmith Fork  Map  Flyer  News Release

Evanston/Mt. View Ranger District:  
Mill City Prescribed Fire News Release and Map

Heber Kamas Ranger District
Upper Provo Prescribed Burn News Release and Map
Ponderosa Pine Restoration Project 
Flyer Map News Release

Evanston/Mt. View Ranger Districts
Hoop Lake Prescribed Burn (2016) Monitoring Summary
Attached is a 1-year post-burn monitoring summary for the Hoop Lake Prescribed Fire, implemented in August 2016. A couple key results:

  • Average aspen seedling density increased by 400% (to over 7,000 stems/ac)
  • Average total fuel loading decreased by 63%

Dahlgreen Aspen Prescribed Burmn (2008) Monitoring Summary
Attached is a 9-yr post-burn monitoring summary for the Dahlgreen Aspen Prescribed Fire, implemented in June 2008. A couple key results:

  • Average aspen seedling density increased by 470% after 3 years.
  • Cattle and elk browsing did not significantly impact aspen regeneration even though the prescribed fire was relatively small (250 ac)

Success Stories

Hells Hollow Prescribed Fire Burn Units Successfully Treated 2010 and 2009
Monks Hollow Prescribed Fire Successfully Treated 2010