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Prescribed Burns to be Conducted on Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges in North Carolina

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2005

Contacts:
Bonnie Strawser, 252-473-1131 x230


Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges are preparing to begin winter prescribed burning season in an effort to reduce the build up of fuels and improve wildlife habitat on both refuges in Manteo, North Carolina .

If ideal weather conditions occur, as many as 37,000 acres on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and approximately 1,900 acres on Pea Island are proposed for burning this season between November and April.

The proposed burn units at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge include a mix of marsh, pocosin, and field burns. An approved burn plan is required for each burn unit. This plan outlines burn objectives, weather and environmental requirements, a smoke management plan, and a list of resources necessary to successfully conduct the burn.

The grasslands and marshes found at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge also experience a build-up of plants that can shade out new plants and increase the intensity of wildfires. Winter or dormant season burning allows for the reduction of hazardous fuels from both refuges. The term “hazardous fuels” refers not only to the build-up of dead plant matter, like pine needles and fallen tree limbs, but also to volatile live fuels like gallberry and fetterbush - shrubs that contain chemicals in their leaves that make them burn intensely. Prescribed burns remove the surface growth of live shrubs which often sprout back from their roots, providing fresh and nutritious browse for wildlife. Removing fuel build-up from the soil surface also makes room for new seedlings to grow in the spring.

Areas scheduled for burning on both refuges remain open to the public for authorized public uses. Closure will occur only during the actual prescribed burn, which could be any time between now and April, as weather permits. Please call ahead (252-473-1131) if you plan to hunt any of these areas. When in the field on either refuge, be aware of the potential for a prescribed fire. To ask questions or provide comments about prescribed burning on Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges, send an email to alligatorriver@fws.gov or call 252-473-1131.

To learn more about Alligator River and Pea Island NWRs visit www.fws.gov/alligatorriver.
To learn more about fire management in the Fish and Wildlife Service visit http://fire.r9.fws.gov/ .


Firefighter Eric Meekins uses a drip torch to light the grass during a 2004 prescribed burn in Long Shoal marsh on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Firefighter Eric Meekins uses a drip torch to light the grass during a 2004 prescribed burn in Long Shoal marsh on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo credit: FWS
Smoke rises into the air along Long Shoal River during a 2004 prescribed burn on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Smoke rises into the air along Long Shoal River during a 2004 prescribed burn on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo credit: FWS
Smoke rises from the filter strips that surround the Laurel Bay farm fields on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.  This prescribed burn will help promote the growth of native grasses in these strips which are important for quail.
Smoke rises from the filter strips that surround the Laurel Bay farm fields on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. This prescribed burn will help promote the growth of native grasses in these strips which are important for quail. Photo credit: Tom Crews, FWS
After igniting a prescribed burn on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, the firefighting crew watches for any condition changes that would need immediate action.
After igniting a prescribed burn on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, the firefighting crew watches for any condition changes that would need immediate action.
Photo credit: Vince Carver, FWS.


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.



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