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Prescribed burns planned in the Panhandle

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission officials have scheduled prescribed burns on Wildlife Management Areas in Scotts Bluff and Morrill counties in the coming weeks.

A 200-acre burn at the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area southwest of Gering may begin as early as Tuesday and Wednesday, April 15-16, if conditions are favorable.

Other properties with approved burn plans may follow. They are the Arnold Trupp WMA north of Bayard and the Nine Mile Creek WMA southeast of Lake Minatare State Recreation Area.

Todd Nordeen, Game and Parks northwestern district wildlife manager, said prescribed burns are a critical tool for enhancing grasslands. By igniting prescribed fires, which occurred naturally before suppression by settlers, land managers can control undesirable species of vegetation and aid the growth of fruit-bearing shrubs and forage grasses. Periodic burns also reduce the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires.

Game and Parks staff will be assisted by members of local fire departments in conducting the burns.

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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