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BLM experiments with targeted grazing, using cattle to "mow" fire breaks in the Owyhee Front

Bruneau, ID

The Bureau of Land Management is increasingly moving toward the use of large fire breaks in strategic areas to help control range fires in Idaho and the Great Basin.

Fire breaks are often created next to existing roads to provide an anchor point for slowing down or stopping fires. The idea is to keep range fires smaller to preserve native sage-steppe habitat.

In recent years, the trend has been growing toward large, destructive range fires in Southern Idaho. In low-precipitation areas of the Snake River Plain, range fires are growing in size, and in some cases, they’ve burned the same ground repeatedly over time. When that occurs, native shrub-steppe habitat gets destroyed, and cheat-grass and invasive weeds take over.

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