Residents Oppose Plans for Controlled Burn

Residents Oppose Plans for Controlled Burn

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Sandra Yi reportingControlled burns planned for next week light a fire of controversy with residents, as Forest Service officials defend their need to conduct them.

The prescribed burn that turned into an out-of-control fire in the Cascade Springs area has sparked debate about the timing of controlled burns.

The Forest Service has another one planned, on Monday. The Forest Service says, it may not seem like it, but it's an ideal time for controlled burns.

Some people disagree, and say the conditions are too dry and too dangerous.

Harold Lanier/ Roy Resident: "We've always been kind of leery of prescribed burns."

Tamra Pribbanow/Roy Resident: "It's very tinder dry. They get out of control."

Heated words, from Roy residents. They fear another controlled burn will only go out of control, like the one still burning in Cascade Springs.

Harold Lanier: "When I heard it was a prescribed burn, I go, 'Here we go again.'"

Lanier hopes the U.S. Forest Service will hold off on a planned prescribed burn in Ogden's Monte Cristo area. Not yet approved, the burn would reduce the fuel for potential wildfires.

Crews would target several areas, totaling nearly 3,000 acres.

Meanwhile, crews on Monday plan to go ahead with another prescribed burn on Boulder Mountain in Logan. The Forest Service says that burn has been in the works since last year.

Bob Tonioli/U.S. Forest Service: "The problem with prescribed burns is we have to put them into effect when the vegetation will burn, and unfortunately, that's usually when it's drier, and it's windier and the relative humidity is lower."

Bob Tonioli: "If we could wait, we would. The problem with waiting sometimes is you never get the presciption there to burn that vegetation."

Tonioli says the Uinta and Wasatch Cache National Forests have successfully burned a total of 25,000 acres in the past four years.

Bob Tonioli: "I put it in perspective. You can't stop a successful program because something happens each time. Otherwise, we would not be changing the vegetation back to where we would like to see it."

That's not enough to reassure concerned residents.

Tamra Pribbanow: "The taxpayers pay for it, so it's coming out of our pocket. So why don't they pay attention to the people's input? Do it a different time of year. Do it when it's easier to control."

The Forest Service says it encourages and considers input from residents before going ahead with a prescribed burn.

The one planned for Monte Cristo is still under review, but the prescribed burn on Boulder Mountain will go ahead on Monday, if all the conditions are right.

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