Wildlife refuge plans controlled burns on 150 acres of grasslands, 30 acres of cattail marsh

Posted 17 March 2023 at 12:56 pm

Press Release, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

BASOM – Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge announces plans to conduct up to six prescribed burns on the Refuge during the 2023 season.

The goal this year is to burn up to 150 acres of grasslands and 30 acres of cattail marsh. The result will be enhanced grassland nesting cover and improved marsh habitat for a variety of migratory birds and other wildlife.

Grassland fields will be burned in the spring or summer (April – August) and marshes will be burned in the summer (June-August). Each burn should take approximately two to six hours to complete.

Prescribed burns are conducted safely and successfully on National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands across the country. With prescribed burns, fire becomes a management tool removing accumulated fuel loads thus reducing the risk of wildfire.

Additionally, fire improves Refuge habitats for wildlife by removing invading plants that compete for light and nutrients and exposing the soil to sunlight so that seeds may germinate and grow. At the same time, it releases nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil to nourish the new plants.

Specific dates cannot be announced in advance due to specific weather requirements, however, law enforcement and other emergency agencies will be notified on the day of the burn. Before a burn can take place, specific weather and site conditions, including wind direction and speed, humidity, air temperature, and fuel moisture must be present.

If any one of these conditions is outside of set parameters, the burn will not take place. Refuge staff have been specially trained to plan, ignite and monitor the fire to ensure public safety.

For further information contact Refuge Manager, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013 or call 585-948-5445 ext.7030.