2013-05-09 / Community

Forest service advising public of planned burns

Affected areas include Stonington Peninsula

RAPID RIVER – The Forest Service’s Rapid River Ranger District is preparing for the South Schaawe and Dutch Mill prescribed burns. The South Schaawe burn is 120 acres and located five miles south of U.S. 2 on the Stonington Peninsula. The Dutch Mill burn is 9 miles North of Rapid River and 1 mile west of U.S. 41 in the Birch Farm area.

In 2012, approximately 97 acres were burned on the Dutch Mill project, leaving 75 acres yet to be burned. During a period of one to three days this spring, the remaining acreage in the Birch Farm area will be burned.

In addition, Munising’s Ranger District is preparing for the Baldy Lake prescribed burn. The burn is approximately 75 acres in size, and located ten miles south of Munising one mile north of Baldy Lake. In 2012 approximately 85 acres were successfully burned on the project, leaving 75 acres yet to be burned this year. During a period of one to three days this spring, the remaining acreage on the Baldy Lake project will be burned.

The U. S. Forest Service and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are cooperatively funding the burn. Prescribed burning is weather dependent and most likely will occur in the near future. If conditions are not right, the burn will be postponed until fall.

This project is meant to maintain biological diversity in the Hiawatha National Forest, as well as in the Upper Peninsula. The large open or semi-open savanna habitats, once more common in the U.P. due to natural disturbances such as wildfire, have become scarce in recently. The project is aimed at improving the overall health and vigor of vegetation and wildlife habitat on the forest.

Openings also serve as natural firebreaks by keeping large accumulations of hazardous fuels away from private homes and property boundaries and by breaking up large expanses of potentially volatile forest. These openings can burn with relative frequency, but are consistent in only carrying or sustaining low intensity wildfires. These areas help to minimize the spread of larger, high intensity/catastrophic fires. They also provide safe opportunities for wildland firefighters to suppress large fires and/or minimize their impact to surrounding resources. This safety aspect is critical when dealing with fires that occur in areas with wildland-urban interfaces that inherently have higher risks and resource values at stake. These openings would help to mitigate those risks and minimize the loss to resource values (i.e. timber products, recreation opportunities, wildlife habitat, private property, and utilities).

During active burning, smoke and flames may be visible from Gladstone, U.S. 2 East of Rapid River, and other points throughout Delta County. Though unlikely, smoke may settle in some areas in the evening hours.

If you have health problems that may be aggravated by smoke production, please contact Eric Rebitzke at (906) 474-6442, and you will be personally notified prior to any burning activities.

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