Montana

Montana

Thinning Overgrowth Protects Historic Wildlife Refuge

National Bison Range - 2003

Like many national wildlife refuges the National Bison Range manages fire to improve and maintain ecosystem health, which has degraded during the past century due to the suppression of fire. Staff at the Bison Range initiated a project several years ago to treat the heavy build-up of vegetation with a combination of thinning, piling, and burning to return the habitat to a more natural and healthy state. By using a combination of contract and refuge staff, the more than 35-acres of timbered lands were treated in 2003. The fire management project paid off when a lightning strike occurred on the hill where vegetation was thinned and piled earlier in the spring.

"The quick response of our firefighters, combined with the thinning and piling, held the fire to less than one-tenth of an-acre during one of the most extreme fire seasons on record for Montana," said Bob Rebarchik, FWS fire management officer for Montana, Wyoming, and Utah.

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