Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
November 8, 2006
Proposed prescribed fires for FY 2007 on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
The Heat is On: Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Prepares for Another Prescribed Burning Season
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is busy preparing for another prescribed burn season which generally begins in the fall and runs through mid-spring. Prescribed burns are management-ignited fires conducted under specified conditions for particular management objectives. Objectives range from reducing the vegetation available that could fuel an uncontrolled wildfire to removing shrubs that are encroaching on marshlands. The use of prescribed fire provides the refuge with a cost-effective tool for managing wildlife habitat for the benefit of healthy ecosystems that are best for people and wildlife.
Prescribed burning is a highly effective management tool, but it is highly dependent on the weather. Every year the refuge selects more units for prescribed burning than it can achieve in order to have a variety of options available for what the weather dictates. Sometimes it will be too wet to burn the woods, but fire staff will be able to burn in marsh. The predicted wind direction might push heavy smoke over a community if one unit were burned, but another unit can be burned without causing smoke impacts. Each unit has a unique set of conditions that must coincide to burn safely and effectively, including the right mix of equipment and personnel.
Forecasts can often give fire managers a rough idea of which units can be burned in the coming week. But as we all know, weather has a habit of changing quickly. A Burn Boss is never sure until the morning of a burn if the weather will be right or not. Because of this unpredictability, it is impossible for the refuge to say exactly when any given unit will be burned. The attached map is provided to alert visitors to which areas of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge may be burned between now and spring and subject to temporary closures during burning. In addition, fire personnel plan to burn 3 units on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. These units are on the west side of the highway and include the area from the north end of the island to the Visitor Center and from the end of South Pond to New Inlet.
Questions or comments about the prescribed burning program at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge can be directed to Kelley Van Druten at 252-473-1131 extension 235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.