BRIDGEPORT, Calif. — The Bridgeport Ranger District on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest will soon begin pile burning across the district for the next two months.

The objective is to restore sage grouse habitat, improve timber stand health, and reduce fuels in the wildland-urban-interface. Pile burning may occur in the following areas and for the following purposes: China Camp, 15 miles northeast of Bridgeport in Mineral County, for sage grouse habitat restoration; Aurora Cemetery, approximately 18 miles east of Bridgeport in Mineral County, for creating a fuel break for protection of historic Aurora Cemetery; Twin Lakes 12 miles southwest of Bridgeport in Mono County, Calif. for fuels reduction around recreational residences; Mill Canyon, five miles south of Walker, Calif., and west of Highway 395 in Mono County,  Calif., for fuels reduction and timber stand health; and, Rosaschi Ranch, two miles east of Nevada Highway 338 on Forest Service Road 028 in Lyon County, to remove fuels to facilitate re-construction of a fence section.

Burning at all project areas will occur until March 31, weather and fuel conditions permitting.

“Prescribed fire is an efficient way of removing woody debris, providing ecosystem benefits, and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire and risk to firefighters in the event of a large fire,” said Annamaria Echeverria, District Fuels specialist.

Weather conditions are being monitored to identify suitable timeframes for effective pile burning conditions and to minimize smoke impacts to communities.

Prescribed fire notices have been posted near project areas and at public gathering locations regarding these upcoming projects.

Visitors and residents can expect to see and smell smoke when the burns are occurring; this is a short-term situation.  Any burning activity will be accomplished during weather conditions that would minimize impacts of smoke on communities.

All burning is done within parameters set forth in an approved burn plan and conforms to the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District’s air quality standards.