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Prescribed Fire Decreases Wildfire Risk, Improves Habitat and Enhances Forest Health Across Superior National Forest

Jun 07, 2019 09:27PM ● By Editor

June 7th, 2019 DULUTH, MN – Conditions that nurture wildfires also can nurture prescribed fires. As of June 3rd, spring weather conditions have allowed crews to make significant progress implementing planned prescribed fire projects across the Superior National Forest in northern Minnesota. A total of more than 3,600 acres on approximately a dozen units have been treated so far with prescribed fire, including dead vegetation that had been piled for burning. This is good news for native plants and wildlife who depend on fire to create conditions for them to thrive, good for general forest health and regeneration, and good in terms of reduced wildfire hazards for people living near or visiting the Forest.

This large amount of prescribed fire work was accomplished by Superior National Forest personnel with the assistance of crews from Black Hills, Daniel Boone, Lolo, Chippewa, and Kootenai National Forests, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Parks along with Region 1 Smokejumpers, Midewin Interagency Hotshot Crew, and Pike Interagency Hotshot Crew. Operations involved crews on the ground and in boats on the water with air support from airplanes and helicopters.

As favorable conditions continue, crews plan to complete additional prescribed fires and are also prepared to respond to wildfires.

Remember Smokey Bear’s message-Everyone can play a role in reducing wildfire risks:

  • Pay attention to current fire restrictions.
  • Reduce fire risk around your home through Fire wise practices.
  • Follow Smokey Bear’s rules for fire safety.

Additional details about the Forest fire and fuels management program is available on the Superior National Forest website at: www.fs.usda.gov/superior.

For updates regarding ongoing fire activity, go to the national INCIWEB site at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/

Prescription for a healthy forest - Prescribed fires are carefully planned, far in advance, with involvement from specialists in all of the resource programs on the Forest and designed to be implemented under specific conditions (prescription) to meet management objectives. Reducing dangerous fuel loads to reduce the risk of a quick-spreading large wildfire is often an objective for a prescribed fire. Prescribed fire is also a useful tool for preparing a site for regeneration of native vegetation, restoring certain forest types, and maintaining wildlife openings or other habitat enhancements. Several considerations go into planning a prescribed fire including fuel types, presence of sensitive plants or animals, proximity to homes and private lands, visitor use, fuel moisture, winds, relative humidity, and projected weather. The prescribed season for implementing may be based on controlling certain invasive plants when their life history makes them vulnerable or avoiding the nesting period of a sensitive bird species.   In our region, spring and fall are usually the seasons when conditions match the prescription for a particular prescribed fire unit but sometimes management objectives indicate summer is the best timing for a prescribed fire. Prescribed burns are conducted by trained, certified Forest Service personnel and take into consideration temperature, relative humidity, wind and other conditions. Superior National Forest managers intend to continue to pursue project planning and implementation approaches that expand collaboration with other land managers to increase efficiencies and effectiveness of prescribed fire and other vegetation treatments on the Forest.

 

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