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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

ASH MEADOWS NWR: Controlled Burn Produces Extra Benefits

Region 8, May 6, 2009
Briefing for fire crews involved with the interagency controlled burn at the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. Photo by USFWS
Briefing for fire crews involved with the interagency controlled burn at the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. Photo by USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a

by Miriam Morrill

On May 6, 2009, numerous partners including Amargosa Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Nevada Department of Forestry, Lake Mead National Park, Bureau of Land Management’s Las Vegas District, Humboldt- Toiyabe National Forest, and the Nevada Interagency Helitack Crew conducted a controlled burn of 62 acres on Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. It was first controlled burn on the refuge in about 15 years. Bringing fire back to the refuge was important for habitat management but the bigger benefit came from building a new partnership with the volunteer fire department and community. 

The refuge has over 23,000 acres of spring-fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands which provide habitat for at least 24 plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. This concentration of indigenous life distinguishes the refuge as having a greater concentration of endemic life than any other local area in the United States and the second greatest in all of North America.

Controlled burns help clear hazardous levels of vegetation and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, while stimulating new plant growth and maintaining the health of the ecosystem.  Having partners like the Amargosa Volunteer Fire Department help implement the controlled burn provides a great training opportunity but also helps build new ambassadors to spread the word about fire management on the refuge.  Glenn Gibson, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Nevada Zone Fire Management Officer said “the project laid a good foundation for the future burning on the refuge”.

 

For more information contact Glenn Gibson at 702-515-5456.

 

Contact Info: Miriam Morrill, 530-934-2801, Miriam_Morrill@fws.gov