FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2009
Controlled burn tomorrow at Mima Mounds
Preserve closed to public during burn
OLYMPIA – the controlled burn that was postponed last week is scheduled for tomorrow September 2 at Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve, announced Washington’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which manages the preserve. If wind and weather conditions continue favorably, and The Nature Conservancy of Washington and DNR will conduct the controlled burns on 50 acres there.
The preserve will be closed to public use during the work. However, interested media may contact and coordinate with Birdie Davenport at the site, 360-789-5754.
Fire will be used to promote growth of native prairie plant species and reduce thatch and shrubs in this rare grassland ecosystem at Mima Mounds. The planned burns are part of regional efforts to restore native prairie grasslands in western Washington. One of the burn units also is part of a regional research project to assess techniques for restoring and maintaining native prairie habitat.
Firefighters will use fire engines and other fire suppression techniques to prevent the fire from spreading beyond the burn units, and will assist in mop-up efforts. The Nature Conservancy has considerable experience with prescribed fire. In 2007, the Conservancy managed or assisted on almost 360,000 acres of controlled burns nationwide across numerous habitat types.
The Mima Mounds NAP—two miles west of Littlerock, off Waddell Creek Road — protects the best remaining example of the unique Mima Mounds. It also protects one of the last and largest remnants of Washington’s once extensive native prairie—only 10 percent remains—and provides unique habitat for a diversity of plants and animals.
Controlled burns yield multiple benefits
Fire has played an integral role in the development and maintenance of oak woodlands and prairies in the Puget Sound lowlands. Controlled burns are a safe and cost-effective way to reintroduce natural disturbance to fire-adapted ecosystems. They are conducted when fire danger is low and when weather conditions minimize the impact of smoke on nearby residents.
DNR manages Natural Areas
DNR manages a small but significant statewide system of Natural Resources Conservation Areas and Natural Area Preserves—more than 132,000 acres—to protect native ecosystems and the plant and animal species that depend on them. Many also provide access for education and low impact public use. Peter Goldmark, the statewide elected official who administers DNR, is the 13th Public Lands Commissioner since Washington became a state.
Contact: Jane Chavey, Senior Communications Manager 360-902-1721, firstname.lastname@example.org
Birdie Davenport, 360-596-5144
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