Working alongside fire crews from the Battle Mountain District and the U.S. Forest Service, the area was cleared of last year’s cheatgrass in preparation for upcoming herbicide treatment. A total of 15 fire personnel utilized two BLM heavy fire engines and a tractor with a plow to prepare and burn the area.
The precision burn lasted approximately five hours. Each person working the burn was a trained fire crew member working with drip torches containing a mixture of gasoline and diesel. This mixture is dripped onto a wick which in turn drops tiny flames onto the burn area.
“We then monitored the area for two days to ensure there was no more active flames,” said Matt Murphy, Natural Resource Specialist, Elko BLM. “After two days, it rained and the fire was declared 100 percent out. Before performing the burn, we monitored the weather and determined the conditions would be ideal on this day and they were.”
The removal of cheatgrass allows for greater amounts of herbicide to reach the soil and prohibit germination and growth of harmful annual grasses. This 1,200 acre prescribed burn is part of an 1,800 acre treatment block to potentially reduce the amount of cheatgrass along the Izzenhood Road and prepare for seeding and establishment of more fire-resistant perennial species. The remaining 600 acres had a less concentrated cheatgrass population and have been harrowed for herbicide treatment.
Pictures of the prescribed burn can be found at Nevada BLM’s Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/blmnevada/collections/ under the Elko District Office.