Prescribed Burns Planned for Sabine National Wildlife Refuge

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel are planning to conduct several prescribed burns on Sabine National Wildlife Refuge during the month of February. According to Jamie Farmer, Fire Management Officer for the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex, burning could begin as early as February 15th, and will take place on multiple days through the end of February as weather permits. Burns are planned for five of Sabine’s western management units including 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, which are located along Sabine Lake and north of Johnson Bayou. Service personnel have been working with adjacent landowners to ensure that appropriate fire breaks are in place along refuge borders to make sure that fires don’t escape and burn property that landowners don’t want burned. Some neighboring landowners have expressed interest in prescribe burning some of their lands and may also be burning this month as well. Prescribed burning is a commonly used habitat management tool. Prescribed burns reduce the potential for catastrophic wildfires, control invasive species, and restore and revitalize ecosystems. If appropriate weather conditions occur and resources are available, up to 60,000 acres of refuge marsh habitat can be treated with fire. Fire management personnel will be working closely with the National Weather Service to predict when appropriate weather conditions will occur so they may conduct the burns and least impact local communities and Highway 82 with smoke. Ideally, northerly winds that will lift smoke and disperse it out over the Gulf would be best. They will also keep local emergency management offices, including Cameron Fire Department, Cameron Sheriff’s Office, and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, informed of day to day operations once they begin. For further information about these prescribed burns please contact Incident Information Officer, Diane Borden-Billiot, at 337-598-2216. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System that encompasses more than 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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