A pair of prescribed burns between Logan and Blacksmith Fork canyons will begin Wednesday, weather permitting.
The U.S. Forest Service sent out a press release and posted signs through both canyons in advance of the Labor Day holiday weekend to alert area residents of the burns, noting they could occur any time between Sept. 4 and the beginning of October.
But U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kathy Jo Pollock said Tuesday that crews will begin the operations at the first opportunity in that time window if wind, heat and humidity factors are suitable. Each will take about a day to complete and be conducted on successive days.
The areas targeted are known as Blacksmith Fork Units B and C, although one is much closer to the Logan River than the Blacksmith Fork River.
Unit B, the site of the first prescribed burn, is roughly 8 miles due east of Logan just south of U.S. Highway 89 and bordered on the north by Card Canyon. Unit C is just north of State Road 101 through Blacksmith Fork Canyon and bordered on the west by Left Hand Fork. They both include sections of Richards Hollow and together amount to 4,900 acres.
Pollock said that in addition to reducing wildfire risk by eliminating dead and down vegetation, the goal of the project is regeneration of aspen trees.
“Aspen use fire to regenerate,” Pollock said, explaining that conifer trees tend encroach upon and choke out aspen over time. “A healthy aspen forest provides improved habitat for wildlife, helps prevent soil erosion and increases resistance to disease and insects.”
Crews have been creating firebreaks around the targeted areas over the past several weeks, and Pollock said about 40 firefighters and other personnel will be on hand to monitor the prescribed burns. The team will include both engine and hand crews.
Fire personnel will use handheld drip torches and a helicopter to ignite fire in the designated areas.
A Forest Service press release cautioned that Bear Lake Valley, Hyrum, Millville and the Providence areas could experience a small amount of smoke for a short duration in the evenings and early mornings during the prescribed burns. No smoke is expected to drift into Logan.
Roads accessing the burn areas will likely be closed during the burn, and hunters should plan alternate routes for forest access, the press release states. Also, delays are possible along the roads bordering the prescribed fire area, which includes Card Canyon, Cowley Canyon, Herd Canyon, Richards Hollow and the Logan Peak roads.
No other prescribed burns are planned in the Cache County segment of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest through 2019.