Phragmites burns scheduled to occur within the next 24 hours:
We have clearance for a large prescribed burn at Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area on Monday, March 28, 2010. We will burn up to 910 acres that were treated with herbicide during the fall of 2008. Part of this burn is near residential areas. Trained fire control personnel will carefully manage the fire. We were unable to get clearance for this burn last fall, so we hope conditions will hold for tomorrow.
Update: Monday, 4 p.m. There are currently two large fires buring in the local marshes. One controlled fire at Ogden Bay set by the DWR, and one uncontrolled fire off Gentile Street in Layton that was reportedly started accidentally by mosquito abatement. The two fires are unrelated, and we understand that fire crews are responding to the uncontrolled fire.
Spring, 2010 phragmites burns
Ogden & Farmington Bays scheduled for burns during upcoming weeks
As weather conditions permit, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) will burn phragmites at both the Ogden Bay and Farmington Bay waterfowl management areas (WMAs). To ensure public safety, the DWR will temporarily close these areas during a burn.
What is phragmites?
Phragmites (pronounced frag-mite-ees) is an invasive plant that can reach heights of 13–15 feet. It spreads rapidly, forming dense thickets that outcompete native plants and wildlife in Utah's marshes. Areas with phragmites are inhospitable to water birds and practically inaccessible to hunters. The DWR has used a combination of herbicides and follow-up burns to remove thousands of acres of phragmites over the past few years.
Where and when will the burns occur?
Burns may occur in parts of two WMAs: Farmington Bay and Ogden Bay. Weather conditions — including temperature, wind speed/direction, air quality and other factors — have to be exactly right before the DWR can burn phragmites. Because burns are weather-dependent, the DWR cannot schedule them months or weeks in advance. DWR habitat crews usually have only 12 hours' notice before a burn is authorized. Burns will only occur on weekdays.
How long will the WMAs be closed?
DWR personnel will lock the WMA gates the night before a burn occurs. The WMA will likely remain closed throughout the following day. Fire safety officials will monitor the area and let the DWR know when it is safe to reopen.
How will hunters know about WMA closures?
To notify hunters about an impending burn, DWR personnel will:
- Hang informative banners on the locked WMA gates
- Send e-mails to hunters
- Post a notice at the top of this Web page
- Post notices on Twitter (at twitter.com/DWRburn)
- Alert the media
Closures will be temporary — probably a day or two at most — and may not affect the entire WMA.
How will these burns affect hunting on the WMAs?
Hunting will improve significantly. Within two or three weeks, waterfowl will flock to the burned areas in large numbers. Hunters will need to be careful, however, because newly burned phragmites remnants are very sharp. Within a year or so, these remnants will disappear and be replaced by pockets of open water and native marsh plants. DWR employees have seen vast improvements in areas that were burned a few years ago.
In-depth informationInvasive and noxious weed control: How the Utah DWR is working to control noxious weeds on Utah's Waterfowl Management Areas— (PDF format)