New York

New York

Regular Brush Thinning Saves Homes

Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge - 2003

Annual prescribed burns and mechanical thinning of brush and weeds helped keep a wildfire at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge at 20-acres, and a nearby 60-home subdivision safe.

The human-caused fire started in a refuge marsh within the boundaries of the New York Central Pine Barrens but was extinguished quickly because of an agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New York State Forest Rangers and the Brookhaven Volunteer Fire Department that gave firefighters the tools to coordinate the quick response and establish a unified command. The agreement also allowed Brookhaven to assist with a 35-acre prescribed burn on the refuge, which is bordered on three sides by single-family homes, Long Island Railroad, a shopping plaza, and a school. The agreement has led to increased collaboration among fire managers on Long Island, where human-caused fires are frequent.

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