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Bitter Lake to conduct prescribed burns

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Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge plans to implement prescribed fire projects on the refuge east of Roswell, potentially beginning Jan. 19 through February, weather permitting.

Approximately 500 acres of refuge wetlands will be burned in order to mimic a historic fire regime, thus recycling nutrients and promoting a mosaic of healthy native habitats, according to a press release from the Department of the Interior.

Ignitions are planned to last a couple of days over the next two months and will produce visible smoke for a short duration each day. These burns should result in little residual smoke after completion. The burns will be implemented under a strict set of guidelines and weather parameters to provide for public and firefighter safety.

If unsafe weather conditions exist, the burn will be rescheduled for a later date.

The refuge visitor center will remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour loop may possibly be closed for a short time during one of the prescribed burns to ensure the safety of the public and firefighters.

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