August 27, 2008

See Smoke By the Airport?

By Shira Schoenberg

State officials will burn about 40 acres near the Concord Municipal Airport in order to manage forests and protect a rare species.

New Hampshire Fish and Game and the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development will conduct the "prescribed burn" together with the Army National Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the city of Concord. The burn will take place between now and late October, depending on weather and atmospheric conditions.

Biologist Heidi Holman of Fish and Game said eight acres are expected to be burned in the next week or two. Later in the fall, other units of up to 12 acres each will be burned.

About six acres were already burned this spring, and the fall burning will bring the total to about 40 acres this year, Holman said.

According to a Fish and Game press release, prescribed burning is important to manage Concord's pine barrens. The fire restores habitat conditions that can support rare wildlife, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly - which is the official state butterfly.

The burn will take place within conservation zones at the airport and is allowed by state permits.

There will be precautions taken to limit smoke and ensure that the burn stays within specific borders. At least one fire vehicle with a water tank will remain on site.

Neighbors may see smoke and increased traffic, but the smoke does not pose a health threat, according to Fish and Game.

Shira Schoenberg

Originally published by Shira Schoenberg Monitor staff.

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