Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Prescribed Burning Protects Homes and Endangered Species From Wildfire
10 Region, May 1, 2004
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Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, MN, May 2004 ? A recently completed prescribed burn created a fuel break that helped stop a lightning-caused wildfire from spreading into the nearby community of Ortonville. The 35-acre prescribed burn had been conducted to reduce the hazardous buildup of vegetation along the Northern boundary of the refuge and to protect and enhance habitat for the endangered Ball Cactus. It not only provided a barrier to keep the main body of the wildfire from spreading onto private lands, but also a safe ?anchor point? from which firefighters could surround and contain the fire. Conditions were extremely difficult and fire fighters were hampered by high winds, rough terrain, and an impending tornado watch. Had the 344-acre wildfire spread onto private lands, several farms and houses would have been at risk and a nearby state highway would have been closed. The Bellingham, Odessa, and Ortonville Volunteer Fire Departments assisted the refuge firefighters with the suppression of the wildfire. Two of these volunteer fire departments are recipients of Rural Fire Assistance Grants from the refuge, and equipment purchased with those funds was used.

No contact information available. Please contact Larry Dean, 612-713-5313, larry_dean@fws.gov
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