HECTOR, Sept.18, 2013 — Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) officials have announced that they, in partnership with local fire departments, are planning to use prescribed fire to treat approximately 400 to 600 acres of the more than 16,000-acre national forest.
The Forest Service says that it will use prescribed fire as a management tool to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations, to promote perennial and annual grass production, and to mitigate non-native invasive plant species; in order to restore critical wildlife habitat, improve grazing allotments, regenerate early successional growth, and improve overall watershed conditions in the forest.
In the coming weeks, FLNF fire personnel will use prescribed fire in certain areas of the Forest. The map at right shows those areas, designated by outlines containing orange diagonal lines.
The prescribed fires are not likely to seriously impact local residents, although smoke will be visible from the surrounding area and nearby residents may smell it. The timing of the prescribed burns depends on weather and vegetation conditions that meet very specifically defined limits – called the “prescription” — so the ignition dates are subject to some adjustment, although the “burn window” is not likely to exceed more than two weeks. The Forest Service will announce additional details on burn locations closer to the date of planned ignition. If a burn cannot be completed during the designated burn window, it will likely be postponed until the fall or spring of 2014.
Prior to each prescribed fire, crews will have already prepared the burn area by constructing control lines on the ground. On the first day of ignition, crews will further secure the burn perimeter by “blacklining” (a method of applying fire to a swath of vegetation immediately inside the control lines) to create a wide barrier that contains the fire within the designated area. On the second day, firefighters will use drip torches to light vegetation in the interior of the burn area.