Prescribed burns go forward as plannedTwo prescribed burns by the McKenzie Ranger District will proceed as planned as there were no negative comments by the Aug. 20 deadline for public input.
Two prescribed burns by the McKenzie Ranger District will proceed as planned as there were no negative comments by the Aug. 20 deadline for public input.
The prescribed burns will take place in the Horse Pasture project area and the Radio Tower project area.
The Horse Pasture project is located on United States Forest Service land in McKenzie County, just north of the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The prescribed burn would be implemented by the U.S. Forest Service.
The Radio Tower project is located just east of and adjacent to U.S. Highway 85, in an area administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The prescribed burn will be jointly implemented by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.
“The purpose of the burn is to restore native vegetation attributes, improve habitat for wildlife, and to reduce fuel loadings,” said Oscar Knudtson, project coordinator for the McKenzie Ranger District. “The fire is used to reinitiate the role of natural fire into the prairie ecosystem, reduce juniper encroachment, increase the cool season grasses and reduce the vigor of invasive species,”
“In both cases the whole process of starting the fire, keeping it contained in the prescribed area and ending it is well planned,” Knudtson said. “We make every effort to keep the genie in the bottle, and have a fire suppression crew in place.”
The burns are planned to take place next spring. “We have to wait for certain weather conditions,” Knudtson said.
“We haven’t gotten many comments concerning the prescribed burns, but there haven’t been any negative so far,” Knudtson said.
“I am writing on behalf of Dacotah Chapter of the Sierra Club in support of the proposal to implement two prescribed burns on the McKenzie Ranger District,” said Wayde Schafer, conservation organizer of the Dacotah Chapter of the Sierra Club in a letter to the McKenzie Ranger District.
Initially the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department had concerns regarding rare plant and animal life in and around the prescribed burn areas being negatively impacted by the project. But upon further review it could not find any proof that there would be permanent damage by the project. If any reclamation efforts were to be done it recommends that any impacted areas be revegetated with species native to the project area, said Kathy Duttenhefner, natural resource program coordinator for the North Dakota Parks Recreation Department and in a letter to the McKenzie Ranger District.