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Bryan Nowell, Forest Ranger: (603) 271-2217 
Heidi Holman, Fish and Game: (603) 271-3018
Liza Poinier, Fish and Game: (603) 271-3211
April 11, 2012

Prescribed Burn in Concord Airport Area to Improve Wildlife Habitat

Map of area where prescribed burn will take place

CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department 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 the City of Concord, will conduct a “prescribed burn” in areas on and near Concord Municipal Airport grounds this spring.  The prescribed burn may occur as early as April 14, or as late as May 20; the date will be finalized when the weather and atmospheric conditions are seen to be safe.

“Safety is our No. 1 concern when we conduct a prescribed burn – and the burn itself is an indispensable tool for safely managing the pine barren forests in the Concord community,” said Heidi Holman, a nongame biologist for N.H. Fish and Game who oversees the project. “Extensive training, planning and preparation take place before each prescribed burn.”

The prescribed burn will take place within the Conservation Zones on the Concord Municipal Airport (see map, above right). It is allowed under a state-issued burn permit, which also serves as a smoke management permit (RSA 227-L17).

Fire is 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. 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. 

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.

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