Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) officials announced today that they, in partnership with local fire departments and land management agencies are planning to use prescribed fire to treat approximately 200 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 heavy accumulations of grass and brush to reduce the potential for large uncontrollable wildfires, to restore critical wildlife habitat, regenerate early successional growth, and improve overall watershed conditions on the national forest in New York.
In the coming weeks, FLNF fire personnel will use prescribed fire in certain areas on the Forest. The prescribed fires are not likely to impact local residents, although smoke will be visible from the surrounding area. Nearby residents may smell smoke. 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, though the “burn window” is not likely to exceed more than six 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, or soon after, it will likely be postponed until the fall of 2018.
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 strip of vegetation immediately inside the control lines) to create a wide barrier that contains the fire within the designated area. Once the blacklining area is secure firefighters will use ignition devices to light vegetation in the interior of the burn area.