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Burning Planned at Chadron State Park, WMAs

With snow providing favorable conditions for prescribed burning, people in northwestern Nebraska may notice more plumes of smoke rising from forest areas in coming weeks.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is planning to incinerate tree piles at Chadron State Park and several wildlife management areas.

Although an exact date for the park hasn’t been set, Superintendent Gregg Galbraith expects the burning to get underway sometime this week.

Greg Schenbeck, an area manager for the Commission, said efforts to burn dozens of piles at area WMAs are progressing. Sites with piles remaining to be burned this winter include Gilbert-Baker WMA near Harrison, Metcalf WMA near Hay Springs and Ponderosa WMA near Crawford. Commission staff wrapped up burning at Bighorn WMA near Crawford in recent weeks.

Commission officials say tree pile burning is an important part of fuels reduction in the Pine Ridge following thinning. The trees are removed from the forest to reduce potential fuels for wildfires and create a more sustainable ponderosa pine habitat for wildlife. Some of the piles were created from scorched trees from the 2012 wildfires – many of them which posed a hazard of falling on fences, powerlines and other structures.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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