Controlled Burns in Pine Barrens to Begin

Freedom — September 14, 2012 — The Nature Conservancy plans prescribed burns today on about 13 acres of the Ossipee Pine Barrens Preserve in Freedom off Ossipee Lake Road.

This month and next, as weather permits and crews are available, the Nature Conservancy intends to conduct prescribed burns on a total of 70 acres in the Pine Barrens. Prescribed burns, with support from federal and state agencies and local fire departments, will generally be conducted between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. In some cases, the areas burned will continue to smolder into the evening, and conservancy staff will remain on site until the fire is fully extinguished.

While the conservancy takes many precautions and measures 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. To minimize the chances of smoke entering homes located in close proximity to the burn areas, the conservancy is asking that neighbors keep the windows in their homes and vehicles closed during the burn operations. Fuel reduction activities have been under way, including mowing areas of dense scrub oak and creating new roads/trails to serve as firebreaks.

The Ossipee Pine Barrens is a globally rare forest type found only in the northeastern United States; in it, plants and animals depend upon fire for their wellbeing and regeneration. Planned, controlled burns help maintain this habitat, while making the community safer from unplanned fires by reducing the amount of built-up fuel that may be sparked by lightning or other activities.

The Nature Conservancy has conducted prescribed burns in the Ossipee Pine Barrens since 2007 totaling more than 400 acres. For more information on fire management at the Ossipee Pine Barrens, call 224-5853.

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