State DEC conducts 37-acre controlled burn in Calverton

The State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers, along with DEC staff and volunteers, completed a 37-acre prescribed fire Friday on the Otis Pike Preserve property in Calverton.

The prescribed fire took place near Prestons Pond, which is south of Grumman Boulevard and west of Line Road.

The burn marks the third prescribed fire completed by DEC staff this year, all in the Calverton area.

The DEC completed two others, totaling 45 and 55 acres, respectively, on DEC’s Otis Pike Property near Fresh Ponds. Both burns were grassland burns for wildlife habitat improvement purposes, according to officials.

The treatment of grasslands using prescribed fire is generally done in the spring and fall months.

Prescribed fire benefits include improvement of wildlife habitat by maintaining grasslands for nesting birds. Prescribed fires also improve wildlife habitat by maintaining a diverse forest environment, officials said.  Other benefits include a reduction in highly combustible fuel loads that could potentially feed a wildland fire, as well as the establishment and maintenance of fire breaks that make control and access to wildland fires easier to obtain.

Prescribed fires also provide a training opportunity for local firefighters who develop skills needed to fight wildland fires.

Before any prescribed fire is conducted a burn plan is developed, outlining management’s objectives, as well as parameters that must be satisfied before any prescribed fire can take place, according to the DEC.

Before fires are conducted, careful consideration is given to environmental factors such as current and expected weather conditions and smoke management considerations in close coordination with the National Weather Service, officials said. 

Individuals interested in viewing copies of Region One fire management plans and individual burn unit plans or looking for general prescribed fire information should contact DEC’s Region One Forest Rangers at 631-444-0291.

DEC notifies local law enforcement and local fire-fighting agencies before conducting any prescribed fires. Individuals, however, are still encouraged to report smoke columns to local authorities.

More information on wildfire prevention may be found on the FIREWISE New York webpage.