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Prescribed Burn Scheduled For Utah Test & Training Range This Week

FILE: Firefighters conduct a prescribed burn on a section of the Base Operations and Readiness Training Area April 27, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Fire and smoke may be visible from the Utah Test and Training Range’s North Range along Interstate 80 this week as the Air Force completes a prescribed burn.

A news release said drivers on I-80 between Wendover and Tooele could see smoke and/or flames near Exit 62 Tuesday through Friday.

The Air Force said the burn is to get rid of cheatgrass, tumbleweed and other invasive species that are blocking sunlight, water and nutrients from native vegetation.

“The burn area is approximately 500 acres,” said Russ Lawrence, manager of Hill AFB’s Natural Resource Program. “This is nearby where we did an aerial spray this week of approximately 600 acres. We have found a combination of spraying and burning is the best approach to remove the invasive species.”

Lawrence said the cheatgrass and tumbleweed are also a wildfire threat. The Air Force tried to do the same work last year but the weather did not cooperate.

“We hope to reseed this new burned and sprayed section next year with a diverse mix of vegetation that is more fire-resistant to create a tactical fire break,” Lawrence said. “This will help us safely manage any wildland fires before they can get out of control.”

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