Bryan Nowell, Forest Ranger: (603) 271-2217
Linda Verville, Fish & Game: (603) 271-2461
Liza Poinier, Fish & Game: (603) 271-3211
May 20, 2005

Prescribed Burn in Concord Airport Area to Improve Wildlife Habitat

CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire Fish and Game and the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development Division of Forests and Lands, with support from the N.H. Army National Guard, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and City of Concord, will be conducting a "prescribed burn" in areas on and near Concord Municipal Airport grounds. The prescribed burn is likely to take place the week of May 23, 2005; the date will be finalized when the weather and atmospheric conditions are seen to be safe.

Prescribed burning, which is highly controlled and conducted by trained professionals, is an indispensable tool for safely managing the pine barren forests in the Concord community. While rare species are associated with both early and late successional stages of the Concord Pine Barrens, the most critically imperiled species occur in the grassy opening stage. Fire is a tool used in restoring or converting habitat conditions that are capable of supporting rare and important wildlife, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly -- New Hampshire's official state butterfly. The fire will also reduce dangerous accumulations of wood that could result in wild, unmanageable fires if left unchecked. The prescribed burn will take place within Conservation Zones on the Concord Municipal Airport (see map). It is allowed under a state-issued burn permit, which also serves as a smoke management permit (RSA 227-L17).

Precautions will be taken to limit smoke and to ensure that the prescribed burn stays within the distinct borders shown on the map. In addition, at least one fire vehicle with water tank will be available on-site at all times as part of the protocol to deal with any unexpected situations. However, neighbors should recognize that atmospheric conditions could change, and smoke may create temporary visibility hazards. The smoke poses no imminent threat to people's health or the community.

NOTE: For a related story on the Karner blue butterfly/habitat restoration project, click here.

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