October 02, 2006 - Refuges prepare for fall prescribed burn season
Refuge fire managers are preparing to ignite as many as 8,000 acres of marsh, uplands, grasslands and timbered areas in Lower Klamath, Tule Lake and Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuges. Burning will commence in early October and continue through December as weather and necessary conditions permit. Nearby residents and refuge visitors should expect some smoke in the vicinity of any prescribed fire activity.
As a local leader in acres treated with prescribed fire, Klamath Basin NWRC Fire Management is adept at balancing smoke management issues and local weather patterns with the desires of refuge lessees and wildlife managers while heeding concerns of surrounding communities. Prescribed fire continues to play a major role in the management and restoration of wildlife refuges today as it has for decades. Since the early 1930's, Klamath Basin NWRC has safely and effectively utilized fire a major management and wildlife habitat enhancement tool. The refuge treats an average 18,700 acres per year over the past seven years, with a high point of 34,697 acres in 2005. More than 27,000 acres of refuge lands have been treated with prescribed fire during 2006.
The ongoing reduction of hazardous vegetative fuels in Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge near Keno, Oregon, marsh and wildlife habitat enhancement efforts in Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and the leaseland burning program are all featured in the fire management program's web site, available online at http://www.fws.gov/klamathbasinrefuges/fire. Additional project and burn day information are available through the web site as well.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.