Saturday, December 2, 2023
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HomeNewsPNF pauses prescribed burning due to poor smoke dispersal

PNF pauses prescribed burning due to poor smoke dispersal

UPDATE Oct. 20: Firefighters successfully treated approximately 90 acres on the La Porte RX – Grass Flat Project Oct. 19. There will not be additional ignitions on this project this weekend. However, firefighters will continue to be in the area working on mop-up, holding, and patrol. The Big Hill Project is in prescription today, Oct. 20, and firefighters plan to treat approximately 100 acres starting this morning. Smoke will be visible to the communities of Cromberg, Sloat, Greenhorn Ranch, Quincy, Blairsden, and possibly Portola.

UPDATE Oct. 19: Firefighters on the Feather River Ranger District will be resuming ignitions this morning, Oct. 19, on the La Porte RX – Little Grass prescribed burn project near Little Grass Valley Reservoir.

As of the morning of Oct. 18, prescribed burn ignitions on the Plumas National Forest are paused due to unexpected smoke impacts, said PNF Public Information Officer Tamara Schmidt.

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Butterfly Valley

On Oct. 17 firefighters accomplished approximately 70 acres of treatment on the Butterfly Valley prescribed burn on the Mount Hough Ranger District. Fire effects were excellent and similar to work accomplished recently in the area, said Schmidt.

The determination to pause ignitions for the Butterfly Valley Project was made Oct. 18 by fire leadership on the Mount Hough Ranger District following unexpected smoke impacts when predicted winds did not occur. There was still lingering smoke in Quincy, Meadow Valley, Greenhorn Ranch, and other area communities. This, along with concerns about the forecast, resulted in the decision to not continue ignitions.

Firefighters will be working on mop-up, holding, and patrol. Fire leadership will be monitoring conditions to possibly resume prescribed burning operations as soon as next week.

La Porte RX – Grass Flat

Firefighters on the Feather River Ranger District continued work Oct. 17 on the La Porte RX – Grass Flat prescribed burn near Little Grass Valley Reservoir, completing 40 acres. Although burning was generally successful, Schmidt said that winds in the afternoon were not as forecasted across PNF. This resulted in unexpected smoke to nearby communities and the Feather River Canyon, because dispersal did not occur as anticipated.

On the morning of Oct. 18, it was determined that the area had fallen out of prescription, said Schmidt. Firefighters are monitoring conditions and plan to resume operations if the area comes back into prescription. In the meantime, firefighters will be working on mop-up, holding, and patrol.

The trail along the lake between Pancake Beach Day Use Area and Black Rock Campground remains closed. Although roads are open, the recreating public is asked to avoid the area, including Black Rock and Horse Camp campgrounds, as well as Maidu Boat Ramp and Day Use Area.

Big Hill Project

Following challenges with weather forecasts and wind direction over the weekend on the Big Hill Project near Cromberg, Beckwourth Ranger District firefighters are not planning ignitions for at the least the next few days, said Schmidt. Operations on the Beckwourth Ranger District are paused until conditions, including predicted wind direction, are more favorable. Firefighters are continuing to monitor units treated last week, and are working on preparing other units for treatment.

In all prescribed burn areas, residents and visitors should be prepared for increased firefighter traffic and smoke. Visibility on roads in the project areas may be reduced, especially early in the morning and late evening as smoke settles, said Schmidt. Drivers should use caution.

If weather conditions become unfavorable, including increased or gusty winds in the area, Schmidt reported that burning will stop until conditions improve. Firefighters will be monitoring conditions throughout operations.

For more information on the Plumas National Forest, visit or

Information submitted by Plumas National Forest

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