Fort McCoy News March 10, 2017

Fort McCoy uses prescribed burns

to cut wildfire risk, improve habitats

Nate Tucker, wildlife technician under contract with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch, sets fire to dry vegetation during an ongoing prescribed burn at Range 29 on Feb. 22 on Fort McCoy’s North Post.Nate Tucker, wildlife technician under contract with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch, sets fire to dry vegetation during an ongoing prescribed burn at Range 29 on Feb. 22 on Fort McCoy’s North Post.
Nate Tucker, wildlife technician under contract with the Directorate
of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch,
sets fire to dry vegetation during an ongoing prescribed burn at Range
29 on Feb. 22 on Fort McCoy's North Post.



Zac Millbrand, wildlife technician with the Natural Resources Branch, also burns some dry vegetation during the prescribed burn at Range 29 on Feb. 22.
Zac Millbrand, wildlife technician with the Natural Resources Branch,
also burns some dry vegetation during the prescribed burn at Range 29
on Feb. 22.



Firefighter Josh Whitehead with the Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department provides support during an ongoing prescribed burn at Range 29 on Feb. 22.
Firefighter Josh Whitehead with the Directorate of Emergency Services
Fire Department provides support during an ongoing prescribed burn
at Range 29 on Feb. 22.

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy's first prescribed burns of the year began in February and will continue throughout the spring as weather and conditions permit.

Jim Kerkman, installation forester for the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch, said completing and planning prescribed burns throughout the post is a team effort by many, to include participation from personnel with DPW; Directorate of Emergency Services; and the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

"Prescribed burns, generally, are done in the spring and fall seasons because weather conditions are most favorable at those times," Kerkman said.

On Feb. 22, the prescribed burn team completed a burn at Range 29 on Fort McCoy's North Post — one of the earliest dates to start a burn season at the installation.

Charles Mentzel, Fort McCoy forestry technician who oversaw the burn, said it was an ideal opportunity to prepare the area prior to the start of the Operation Cold Steel exercise that began March 4 on post.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources defines prescribed burns as a way to "improve wildlife habitat, control invasive plant species, restore and maintain native plant communities and reduce wildfire potential."

"Prescribed burns help reduce wildfire potential in areas all around the post — especially in places where military training is taking place," Mentzel said.

For more information on the prescribed burn program, call Kerkman at the installation Forestry Office at 608-388-2102.