Prescribed Burn Produces Extra Benefits
In early May, firefighters at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada conducted the first prescribed fire held at the refuge in nearly 15 years. The project involved burning 62 acres utilizing partnerships with federal, state, and local cooperators. Although the burn was successful at meeting resource objectives to reduce hazardous levels of vegetation and overall risk of fire to the area while stimulating new plant growth, one of the largest benefits came from the establishment of a new partnership with the local volunteer fire department and nearby community. Use of the local volunteer fire department provides a critical link to the community about fire management on the refuge.
“Effective partnerships with volunteer fire departments help to educate the public on the use of fire to enhance wildlife habitat and to reduce the risk of wildfire to our local communities,” said Glenn Gibson, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Nevada Zone Fire Management Officer. “This project laid a good foundation for future burning on the refuge.”
For the burn, Amargosa Valley Volunteer Fire Department, along with the 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, assisted Service firefighters to burn and secure the project area.
The refuge, located in southern Nevada, 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.
The Fire Management Officer from the refuge briefs the crews prior to igniting a prescribed burn on the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. Carl Lundblad, USFWSs
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