Smoke could be seen rising from Scotts Bluff National Monument property south of the Visitor Center Friday as a large South Bluff/Crown Rock prescribed fire at Scotts Bluff National Monument was being conducted.
Superintendent Dan Morford told KNEB News the 915 acres within this project is entirely on Monument land located to the south of county road Old Oregon Trail to the Monument’s southern boundary.
Morford said they are hoping to complete the burn in one day, but will monitor any hot spots through the night. Firefighters will be monitoring both the project and its effectiveness.
Firefighters from the Fire Use Module at Wind Cave National Park have been preparing the perimeter of the burn unit most of this week.
Morford says the primary purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuels and remove non-native vegetation. The reduction in herbaceous fuels will allow firefighters better opportunities to control wildfires which could escape onto private lands. In conjunction with this burn is a research study to analyze the response of non-native annual brasses to fire, herbicide application and native grass seeding.
Residents living near the Monument boundaries may be impacted by smoke depending upon wind direction and possible inversion. Residents are advised to keep their windows closed while the burn is taking place.
Otherwise, normal operations at the Monument have continued so far today with the Visitor Center open until 5 p.m., the Summit Road until 4:30 p.m., and the trails until sunset.
Please inquire about the Scotts Bluff National Monument Annual Pass valid for one year from the purchase date. Additional information about Scotts Bluff National Monument programs and schedules can be obtained at the Visitor Center, by calling 308-436-9700 or by visiting our website at http://www.nps.gov/scbl/index.htm or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/scottsbluffnps.