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Prescribed burns planned for some WMAs, state park areas

LINCOLN, Neb. – Prescribed burns are planned on some Nebraska Game and Parks Commission wildlife management areas (WMA), state parks (SP), state recreation areas (SRA) and state historical parks (SHP) where weather conditions allow.

Historically, wildlife habitats were shaped by wildfires that occurred throughout the year. Burns during the fall and winter can help set back undesirable plants that invade native woodlands and prairies, as well as other grass and wooded areas. Eastern red cedar trees, honey locust, buckbrush, sumac, dogwood, and other undesirable deciduous trees and shrubs can be managed with the help of fall and winter burns. Fall and winter burns slow the rate of burn and allow burns to be more predictable. Winds are generally more stable these times of the year.

Burning throughout the year allows habitat managers to spread their workload out and positively impact more acres. Prescribed burning, if used in conjunction with grazing, can set back smooth brome and Kentucky bluegrass, increase diversity in grasslands and improve habitat for wildlife. Concerns for removing wildlife habitat by burning in the fall and winter have been proven to be unfounded. Burned acres often become more attractive to wildlife species and for some species this effect is immediate. The long-term effects on wildlife habitat are much better if prescribed burning is used as a management tool than if habitat is not burned.

Burns will be conducted this fall, winter and into the spring as conditions allow on the following areas:

Arcadia Diversion Dam WMA, Custer County; Ashfall Fossil Beds SHP and Grove Lake WMA, Antelope County; Basswood Ridge WMA and Danish Alps SRA, Dakota County; Bur Oak WMA and Twin Lakes WMA, Seward County; Burchard WMA, Table Rock WMA and Lores Branch WMA, Pawnee County; Clear Creek, Garden County; Davis Creek WMA, Valley County; Leonard A. Koziol WMA, Howard County; Lewis and Clark SRA, Knox County; Indian Cave SP, Richardson County; Meridian WMA, Thayer County; Osage WMA Johnson County; Ponca SP, Dixon County; Rose Creek WMA and Rock Creek Station SHP, Jefferson County; Sherman Reservoir WMA, Sherman County; Swan Creek WMA, Saline County; West Sacramento WMA, Phelps County; Wildwood WMA and Yankee Hill WMA, Lancaster County; Wiseman WMA, Cedar County.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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