Freedom–September 15, 2014–The Nature Conservancy has announced management activities that are planned for the Ossipee Pine Barrens between now and the end of October. The Conservancy is planning to conduct planned, controlled burns on up to 220 acres at two separate locations in Madison and Freedom. There are approximately 120 acres planned for burning at the Madison Town Forest off of Lead Mine Road in Madison, and 100 acres at the Dr. Melvin Harmon Preserve off of Route 25 in Freedom, a parcel owned and managed by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. The Nature Conservancy will be leading the burns at both sites on behalf of our partnering organizations that own and manage the sites.
Prior to burning, additional mechanical fuel reduction will be completed, including mowing areas of dense scrub oak and creating or enhancing roads and trails to serve as firebreaks. Mechanical fuel reduction activities are an important step in establishing the conditions necessary for safe implementation of controlled burns, have the added benefit of reducing the risks of wildfire, and help to accelerate the restoration of the unique pine-barrens ecosystem.
Mechanical fuel reduction activities have largely been completed but some additional work will be completed within the next few weeks. Burns will be conducted when weather conditions permit between now and approximately the end of October, and when qualified fire crew members and equipment are available.
Controlled burns will generally be conducted between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. In some cases, the areas burned will continue to smolder into the evening, and trained fire personnel will remain on site throughout this period and 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 chance of smoke entering your home, neighbors of the properties should keep their windows in their homes and vehicles closed during the burn operations and until the burn areas are extinguished.
Because the actual burn dates will depend on weather conditions and the availability of crew and equipment, the Conservancy cannot provide exact dates at this time other than the range of now through the end of October.
If your property is near the burn areas and you want the Conservancy to notify you on the days they we are planning to burn in your area, please contact Jeffrey Lougee, Director of Stewardship and Ecological Management, at (603) 356-8833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.