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For Release: Friday, February 28, 2020

DEC Announces Prescribed Fire Results for Long Island

Third Burn Completed by DEC in 2020

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers, DEC staff, and volunteers today completed a 37-acre prescribed fire on DEC's Otis Pike Preserve property in Calverton, Town of Riverhead, on February 28, 2020. The grassland burn took place near Prestons Pond, south of Grumman Blvd. and west of Line Road.

The burn marks the third prescribed fire completed by DEC staff this year. Prior to today's prescribed burn, DEC completed two others totaling 45 and 55 acres, respectively, on DEC's Otis Pike Property near Fresh Ponds in the town of Riverhead. Both burns were grassland burns for wildlife habitat improvement purposes.

DEC conducts prescribed burns on Long Island year-round. The treatment of grasslands using prescribed fire is generally done in the spring and fall months, while woodland units, through the combinations of mechanical treatments and prescribed fire, can occur during any month between February and November when weather conditions permit. The plan calls for cooperation among federal, state, and local agencies, as well as not-for-profit organizations. Burns are conducted in conjunction with personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New York State Parks, Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, and local fire departments.

Prescribed fire benefits include improvement of wildlife habitat by maintaining grasslands for nesting birds. Prescribed fire also improves wildlife habitat by maintaining a diverse forest environment. Other benefits include a reduction in highly combustible fuel loads that could potentially feed a wildland fire, as well as the establishment and maintenance of fire breaks that make control and access to wildland fires easier to obtain. Prescribed fires also represent a valuable training opportunity for local firefighters who develop skills needed to fight wildland fires.

Before any prescribed fire is conducted a burn plan is developed. Burn plans outline management's objectives, as well as parameters that must be satisfied before any prescribed fire can take place. Before fires are conducted, careful consideration is given to environmental factors such as current and expected weather conditions and smoke management considerations in close coordination with the National Weather Service.

Individuals interested in viewing copies of Region One fire management plans and individual burn unit plans or looking for general prescribed fire information should contact DEC's Region One Forest Rangers at (631) 444-0291.

DEC notifies local law enforcement and local fire-fighting agencies before conducting any prescribed fires. Individuals, however, are still encouraged to report smoke columns to local authorities.

More information on wildfire prevention may be found on the FIREWISE New York webpage.

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