Prescribed burn at Concord airport will protect state butterfly
CONCORD — A "prescribed burn" will be conducted in areas in and around the Concord Municipal Airport this fall to benefit the habitat of the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly.
The fall prescribed burn could happen anytime until Nov. 15, but the date will be finalized when the weather and conditions are found to be safe, New Hampshire Fish and Game said.
The prescribed burn will be conducted by Fish and Game Department and the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Division of Forests and Lands, along with support from the New Hampshire Army National Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the city of Concord.
"Planning and preparation are a large part of prescribed burning," said Heidi Holman, the Wildlife Diversity Biologist for N.H. Fish and Game who oversees the project. "This allows us to ensure that conditions and available resources are adequate to safely implement this invaluable management practice to restore the Concord Pine Barrens."
Fire is a tool used in restoring or converting habitat conditions that are capable of supporting rare and important wildlife, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, which is New Hampshire’s official state butterfly. The species most in danger of being harmed live in the grassy opening stage of the Concord Pine Barrens. The fire also will reduce dangerous accumulations of wood that could result in wild, unmanageable fires if left unchecked.
The prescribed burn will take place within the Conservation Zones on the Concord Municipal Airport. It is allowed under a state-issued burn permit, which also serves as a smoke management permit.
Precautions will be taken to limit smoke and to ensure that the prescribed burn stays within the borders shown on the map. In addition, at least one fire vehicle with a water tank will be available on-site at all times. However, neighbors should recognize that atmospheric conditions could change, and smoke may create temporary visibility hazards.
The smoke poses no imminent threat to people’s health or the community, Fish and Game said.