Officials from the 88th Civil Engineer Group Natural Resources Program have announced prescribed burn season dates for the annual Huffman Prairie burn.
The burn season begins Nov. 1 and ends March 15, 2019.
Prescribed burns on the Huffman Prairie are used to maintain and enhance the health of prairie ecosystems, according to an informational pamphlet provided by the base Natural Resources Program. Potential fire hazards exist as the result of dead vegetation accumulation, which can be reduced by annually burning at least a portion of the prairie. The burn also helps control the spread of woody species that can easily adapt to the area’s climate and take over land. Burning the prairie stimulates the growth of original and native prairie species as well as eradicates invasive species.
“Quadrants 3 and 4, totaling approximately 50 acres, are planned for burning this season,” said Darryn Warner, Natural Resources program manager. “Tall-grass, warm-season prairies are fire-dependent and rely upon periodic fire for regeneration purposes. Fire is a natural management tool that releases essential nutrients back into the soil, reduces the thatch layer and aids in reducing the fuel load which aids in controlling wildland fires.
“Many rare species of plants on Huffman Prairie rely upon the benefit provided by prescribed fire and the species that depend upon those rare plant species for food and/or habitat also benefit,” he said.
To be successful, very precise temperature, relative humidity, wind direction, wind speed and ground moisture conditions must be present. Burns are typically accomplished in the fall, partly because the ground is often too wet in the spring.
Prescribed burns at Huffman Prairie
Weather forecasts are reviewed seven to 10 days out.
If a suitable weather window is available, an informational email will be sent out detailing the window.
If a suitable weather window exists five days out, another email will be sent out requesting information concerning conflicting mission schedules, personnel schedules, availability of resources, etc.
If a suitable weather window exists three days out, a USFWS burn team may mobilize, depending upon available resources, mission schedule and USFWS burn team schedule.
If sufficient resources are available and there are no mission schedule conflicts, and USFWS burn team mobilizes, 24 to 36 hours prior to the actual scheduled prescribed fire, additional informational emails will go out to various sources, including, but not limited to: WPAFB Airfield Management, National Park Service, EOD, the Rod & Gun Club, Security Forces, WPAFB Fire & Emergency Services, and 88 Civil Engineer Directorate.
The day of the scheduled burn could arrive and a shift in the wind/other unexpected weather event or an unscheduled mission requirement could cause the prescribed fire to be canceled for that day. If resources are available and the weather is conducive for the next day, a prescribed fire will be planned for the next day.
Prescribed fires will be conducted any day of the week. They will not be limited to normal business hours Monday through Friday.
For more information about the Huffman Prairie prescribed burn season, contact Warner at 937-257-4857 or email@example.com.
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