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Prescribed Fire at Blue Job State Forest to Improve Wildlife Habitat

Doug Minor, NH Division of Forests and Lands: (603) 227-8734
James Oehler, NHFG: (603) 271-0453

November 3, 2017

CONCORD, NH -- A prescribed fire is being planned for a day in November within a portion of the blueberry barrens atop Blue Job Mountain in the town Farmington.  The fire will be conducted by members of the NH Prescribed Fire Council, including staff from the NH Division of Forests and Lands, NH Fish and Game Department, New Boston Air Force Station, NH Army Guard, the White Mountain National Forest, The Nature Conservancy, and others under the guidance of a comprehensive plan to ensure that conditions and available resources are adequate to safely implement the burn.


"Safety is our number one priority when conducting prescribed burns," said Steve Sherman, Chief of the NH Forest Protection Bureau.  "We make sure that all crew members are well trained and that vegetation and weather conditions are just right to accomplish our objectives without risk to people and property.  To ensure public safety, we ask those visiting on the day of the burn to use the main parking area on 1st Crown Point Road, but please stay away from the burn unit on the north end of the blueberry barrens."


The prescribed fire is part of a larger plan that will maintain important young forest and barrens habitat that will benefit a variety of wildlife.  It will also help maintain views of the surrounding landscape and blueberry picking opportunities so enjoyed by visitors to the mountain.  Every few years, a portion of the barrens will be mowed to knock back young trees along the edges of the barrens.  This will be followed up with a prescribed fire to help maintain the blueberries.


"The trees will re-sprout, providing important habitat for several colorful songbirds whose populations have been declining, while blueberries and their flowers will provide an important source of food for a variety of wildlife, from bears to bees," said Jim Oehler, Habitat Biologist for NH Fish and Game.  "To maintain healthy plants and fruit production, blueberry bushes have to be pruned periodically, and fire is one of the most commonly used and effective means to do that."


Blue Job Mountain has a long history of prescribed fire.  State staff conducted several burns there from 1995-2006.  The area was also periodically burned when it was a commercial blueberry operation prior to state ownership.


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