Controlled burn planned for Katama

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A prescribed burn will be conducted by the Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization, at the Katama Airfield and Conservation Area.

Dates for the burn will be set once weather conditions, fuel conditions, staffing, and other circumstances allow for the burn to conducted safely. The window for the burn to be set is from March 26 until the end of May.

Prescribed burns are carefully controlled fires that restore or maintain fire-dependant natural communities. The burns can also help public safety by reducing flammable material in overgrown habitats.

To set the burns, highly trained fire staff use ignitors. They start with a small test burn to see if conditions are appropriate. If the test goes well, they proceed with the full burn.

“We’ve done them safely on the Island for years,” Karen Lombard, director of stewardship and restoration for the Nature Conservancy, said of the prescribed burns. “It really improves safety for residents. By burning it, we prevent wildfires from occuring.”

The controlled burns are set for fire-dependent species that are actually harmed by fire suppression.

The conservancy works with staff from the Northeast Forest and Fire Management LLC, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation, and the Recreation Bureau of Forest Fire Control, and The Trustees of Reservations.