Home News Local News Bitter Lake planning 300-acre prescribed burn

Bitter Lake planning 300-acre prescribed burn

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Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge plans to implement a prescribed fire project on the refuge east of Roswell, potentially beginning this week with a burn window through Feb. 28, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Approximately 300 acres of refuge wetlands in the Hunter Marsh unit are targeted with the following objectives:

• To reduce hazardous fuel accumulations reducing dangerous wildfire conditions.

• To promote vigorous germination of the threatened Pecos sunflower.

• To help in the treatment and eradication of the invasive plant Phragmites.

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• To improve wetland habitat and food resources for wildlife and waterfowl.

Operations are planned to take one day and will produce a very large visible smoke column for several hours. It is expected that the residual smoke will dissipate quickly throughout the afternoon hours. Wind direction and atmospheric conditions will be closely monitored to ensure there are minimal smoke impacts to the public.

The burn will be implemented under a strict set of guidelines to provide for public and firefighter safety, according to the press release.

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

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