The Laramie Ranger District is planning a prescribed burn for the west side of Bald Mountain in the Snowy Range, near Centennial, in order to improve rangeland conditions for big-game winter habitat.

The Forest Service said the burn is necessary because grass in the area has become unpalatable for grazing animals. Over-mature grass has created thick layers of dead material, inhibiting deer and elk herds from grazing and foraging and ultimately decreasing the number of elk wintering on National Forest lands.

The Forest Service estimates burning could begin anytime in the next few weeks, possibly as early as mid-October, depending on the weather conditions. The 180 aces slated for burning is about three miles northeast of Centennial.

The Forest Service is advising hunters in elk area 10 and 75 to be aware of the potential burns and says that signs will be placed on nearby roads to alert the public to the possible fire. No road closures are expected.

Smoke from the burn may be visible from Highway 130, Centennial and Laramie. The district said the Forest Service will monitor the burn area until all fires are out and the necessary smoke permits have been obtained.