Late-fall prescribed burns help cut wildfire risk, improve habitat
By Scott SturkolDecember 21, 2017
Fort McCoy's last prescribed burns of the year took place Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 at areas on North Post and South Post.Personnel with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department; Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch; Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; and the Colorado State University Center of Environmental Management of Military Lands under contract with the post help coordinate each prescribed burn at the post.Prescribed burns, generally, are done in the spring and fall seasons because weather conditions are most favorable at those times, said Jim Kerkman, installation forester with the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch. Prescribed burns also improve wildlife habitat, control invasive plant species, restore and maintain native plant communities, and reduce wildfire potential."Prescribed burns, generally, are done in the spring and fall seasons because weather conditions are most favorable at those times," Kerkman said.The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources defines prescribed burns as a way to "improve wildlife habitat, control invasive plant species, restore and maintain native plant communities and reduce wildfire potential."Charles Mentzel, Fort McCoy forestry technician who oversaw the burns, said it was an ideal opportunity to prepare the area prior to the start of the Operation Cold Steel II exercise in 2018."Prescribed burns help reduce wildfire potential in areas all around the post - especially in places where military training is taking place," Mentzel said.
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