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North Dakota

North Dakota

Effects of Prescribed Burn Help Stop Wildfire, Keep People Safe

Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge - 2003

When firefighters from the Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge and the Hankinson Volunteer Fire Department responded to a wildland fire near the Aaser Waterfowl Production Area just west of Cayuga they found that the warm, dry weather and brisk wind was helping the fire spread rapidly. But then the northwest flame front ran into a prescribed burn unit completed by the Service in 2002, enabling firefighters to contain and more easily control the wildfire.

The fire eventually burned 300 acres of Service land and about 200 acres of private land and was officially controlled within three days. The effects of the previous prescribed fire contributed to everyone's safety during the wildfire.

"This is an excellent example of how our hazardous fuel reduction projects and successful fuels management are promoting safety for the public and Service lands," said David Martin, fire management officer for the 22-county Tewaukon Fire District, which covers 178,000 acres.

Service firefighters regularly assist local departments during wildfires on private lands. This assistance was especially important in 2003, after three years of drought led to an intense fire season, stretching local resources.

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