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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fire Management Program is responsible for protecting and restoring lands in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Pacific Islands territories.

Refuges Prepare for Wildfire in Texas and Florida

May 2009

At this time of year, refuges across the United States are gearing up for wildfires as the season becomes warmer and drier. Along the southern Texas coast and in southern Florida, fire managers at several refuges have requested additional funding to allow for extended work hours, more fire prevention activities, and contracting additional firefighting equipment where needed.

So far this year, according to intelligence from the National Interagency Coordination Center, the Service has experienced at least 188 unwanted wildfires that have burned 26, 822 acres before being contained.  To lower the risk of wildfire to communities and ecosystems, the Service routinely conducts prescribed burns under planned conditions. These burns, sometimes accompanied by thinning of trees and brush with heavy equipment, safely remove the overgrown vegetation that could fuel a damaging wildfire.

The Service has conducted 703 prescribed burns to date in 2009, reducing hazardous conditions on more than 215, 000 acres.  These burns are conducted year-round when favorable conditions are present, and are designed to divert smoke away from roads and homes.


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