January 23, 2014 --
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Natural Resources Section is currently preparing for an active prescribed fire (burn) season.
Prescribed or control burns are an integral part of managing forests in Southwest Georgia and is scheduled to begin at the end of January, according to Julie Robbins, natural resource manager, Environmental Branch, Installation and Environment Division, MCLB Albany.
“Burning accomplishes multiple objectives including reducing fuel loads to mitigate wildfires, improves habitat for wildlife, and reduces populations of undesirable plants and insects,” Robbins said.
Burning will only be done on days with favorable weather conditions.
Personnel sensitive to smoke should avoid areas being burned and minimize time spent outdoors when smoke is present, according Robbins.
Those who work or live on base should be aware that other land owners outside of MCLB Albany also conduct prescribed burns, and smoke generated off base should be expected throughout the upcoming fire (burn) season.
“Generally, 15-20 days of actual burning is needed to accomplish the mission of burning 50 percent of the timber stands throughout the base,” Robbins said.
Thirty to 40 acres is the average area burned on a typical day, she added.
There is more than 700 acres of forest scheduled to be burned by the end of March, according to the natural resource manager.
“Periodic fire creates conditions favorable to wildlife species, such as deer, dove and quail by improving the quality and quantity of browse and cover,” Al Belanger, game warden, Environmental Branch, said.
A mosaic of burned and unburned areas tend to maximize “edge effect” which promotes a large and varied wildlife population.
“Habitat preferences of several rare, threatened or endangered species, including the gopher tortoise and Bachman’s sparrow are also enhanced by burning,” Belanger said.
For more information, call 229-639-9946.