Mark Twain National Forest’s spring 2013 prescribed fire season will begin this month, weather permitting.
Prescribed fires are used primarily to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations, which helps reduce the threat of unplanned wildfires on and around National Forest lands.
“Prescribed fires are also used to improve wildlife habitat in the Forest,” according to Mark Twain National Forest Fire Manager Jody Eberly. “Native species are adapted to fire, and in many cases actually depend on fire in order to thrive. Managed fires help restore native habitats such as glades and woodlands, which can suffer from the encroachment of woody species. Deer, turkeys, quail and other species benefit from the use of fire to maintain or improve the habitat they depend on. “
Eberly said prescribed burns will be carefully planned and monitored by the Forest’s Fire Management staff and will take place between early February and late April. The ignition and timing of these prescribed burns depends on weather and vegetation meeting pre-determined conditions.
A prescribed fire is one that is ignited by highly trained fire personnel under very specific fuel and weather conditions. “We monitor weather and fuel conditions up to the very moment the match is lit, and if all conditions are not right, we will cancel or reschedule some of these prescribed fires to make sure we are achieving our objectives,” Eberly said.
For a schedule of upcoming Mark Twain National Forest scheduled prescribed fires, go to www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5130472.pdf