Prescribed Burns Planned for the Ossipee Pine Barrens

Ossipee — September 12, 2011 — If weather conditions are favorable, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) plans to conduct several controlled burns in the Ossipee Pine Barrens this month and in October. The burns will encompass up to 120 acres of the Preserve in locations in Madison, Freedom and Ossipee. (See the map by clicking here).

The prescribed burns, which are part of TNC’s preservation and restoration plan for the unique ecosystem, will generally be conducted between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. In some cases the burned areas will continue to smolder into the evening and smoke may be observed from Ossipee Lake after dark, especially in the Camp Calumet area. TNC staff will remain on site throughout this period for all burns until the fires are fully extinguished.

Mechanical fuel reduction and restoration projects will be completed prior to the burns, including mowing areas of dense scrub oak and creating new roads and trails to serve as firebreaks. These mechanical fuel reduction activities are are an important step in establishing the conditions necessary for the safe implementation of the burns, and they have the added benefit of reducing the risk of wildfires. The mechanical fuel reduction activities are currently underway and will be completed in the next few weeks.

In an email message, Jeff Lougee, TNC’s Director of Stewardship and Ecological Management, said the burn dates are contingent on a number of factors, including weather conditions and the availability of crew and equipment. Thus far the weather has not been cooperative as the property remains too wet, Lougee said.

While TNC takes many precautions to ensure that smoke from controlled burns is directed away from developed areas and neighboring homes, temporarily shifting winds and smoldering after dark can direct smoke in unpredictable directions. Abutting property owners should close their windows and vehicles during the operations until the burn areas are extinguished. TNC will notify property owners who are in close proximity to the Pine Barrens once burn dates are set. To receive such notification, send contact information, such as a cell phone number or an e-mail address, to jlougee@tnc.org or call him at (603) 356-8833.

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