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Prescribed Burn in Concord Airport Area to Improve Wildlife Habitat

Bryan Nowell, Forest Ranger: (603) 271-2217
Heidi Holman, Fish & Game: (603) 271-3018
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211

September 11, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Division of Forests and Lands, with support from the N.H. Army National Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the City of Concord, will conduct a “prescribed burn” in areas on and near Concord Municipal Airport grounds this fall to benefit habitat needed for the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. The fall prescribed burn may occur anytime up until November 15; the date will be finalized when the weather and atmospheric conditions are seen to be safe.


"Planning and preparation are a large part of prescribed burning," said Heidi Holman, the Wildlife Diversity Biologist for N.H. Fish and Game who oversees the project. "This allows us to ensure that conditions and available resources are adequate to safely implement this invaluable management practice to restore the Concord Pine Barrens."


While rare species are associated with both early and late successional stages of the Concord Pine Barrens, the most critically imperiled species live 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 the Conservation Zones on the Concord Municipal Airport. 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 a 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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