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Fires & Controlled Burns
Fires & Controlled Burns

Fires & Controlled Burns

In “Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area,” they write:

“Paleoecological evidence strongly suggests fire was a common occurrence on the Montague Plains from 500 to at least 2,000 years before European settlement. Throughout North America, prehistoric Native Americans used fire as a landscape management tool to increase browse and mast for game species, drive game, increase production in certain food-bearing plants, ease travel through the wilderness by clearing underbrush, communicate among groups, facilitate effective defense of their communities and territories, and, once agriculture was adopted, to clear and fertilize crop lands.

Fires have occurred in every month of the year on the Plains, but are most frequent in April and May. This pattern is consistent with the fact that the lowest average relative humidities in the region occur in April and May, that leaf-out of deciduous species on the Plains has not occurred leading to very low fuel moisture conditions, and that this period corresponds with the Massachusetts legal open burning season. Click [here](https://www.umass.edu/nebarrensfuels/publications/pdfs/montague_fireplan.pdf) to read or download the Fire Management Plan for the Montague Plain (Clark and Patterson, 2003) (2MB pdf)

Starting in 2000, small prescribed burns have been conducted on a portion of the Montague Plains WMA for ecological management and training purposes. Two main areas of management and research have been ongoing at the Plains since 2000: pitch pine crown fuels characterization and crown fire behavior prediction, and scrub oak fuels and biodiversity management.”

Some cool graphs and math in there!

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