News Release

February 29, 2012

Prescribed Fire Planned for McNary National Wildlife Refuge

Media Contacts:
Sue McDonald, (509) 546-8355, sue_mcdonald@fws.gov

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are planning a prescribed fire for the McNary National Wildlife Refuge. This planned fire will occur around the slough near the Refuge's Headquarters and Environmental Education Center off Lake Road, in Burbank, Washington. The prescribed fire will occur sometime between March 5 and March 15, depending on weather.

"When we do burn, it is only when conditions are favorable for smoke ventilation, and we are careful to comply with all local regulations," stated Thomas Skinner, Fire Management Officer.

Prescribed fires on the refuges are of short duration, but smoke management is always a concern. To ensure public safety, there will be signs and staff posted on Lake Road. Disruptions to traffic are possible due to smoke, but are expected to be minimal.

This prescribed fire will accomplish refuge management objectives for reducing fire hazards and enhancing wildlife habitat. Habitat enhancement burning targets the removal of undesired and overly crowded vegetation which interferes with utilization of the habitat by native wildlife. Removing and/or opening the vegetation with prescribed fire also increases the success of efforts to eradicate invasive species. Refuge managers limit burning to the late winter months or fall because of the potential for detrimental impacts to migratory nesting birds in late spring and the danger of wildfires in summer and early fall.