Programmatic Fire Plan Complete


Endangered species staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service field office in Arizona, and staff from the Coronado National Forest have been working on a programmatic fire plan for the past four years. During that time the Service has allowed several individual prescribed burns in occupied and suitable habitat for the New Mexican ridge-nosed rattlesnake, a threatened species. Prescribed fire is anticipated to be reintroduced on a landscape level to this region of the southwest through the cooperative efforts of the Forest Service, the Rocky Mountain research station, and snake experts from Arizona State University and New Mexico Game and Fish and the Malpai Borderlands Group.

Working together, this group delineated and mapped suitable snake habitat and delineated, quantified and analyzed the effects of fire on that habitat. Then the group determined the amount of snake habitat that could be affected by the fire activities associated with this 10-year plan. The cooperative venture resulted a plan that conserves the snake and its habitat while allowing fire as a natural process back into the area in a safe way.

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