ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The warm weather on Friday made for ideal conditions for a controlled burn. Experts said there’s a short timeframe in the Fall when they can find the right conditions to prescribe a burn.
37 acres were burned Friday afternoon at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. The staff worked alongside members of the Nature Conservancy, New York State Forest Rangers and New York State Parks.
“In general, we’re looking to burn on sunny days, low relative humidity. So dry sunny days with light winds, kind of like the forecast is today,” said preserve Fire Manager Tyler Briggs.
He said there are two main reasons they prescribe burns at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.
“One is for fuel reduction. Burning off the vegetation in a controlled manner, under planned weather, safely reduces the fuel loading and then also we burn for habitat,” said Briggs.
The controlled burn helps many plants and animals including a protected species. The Karner Blue Butterflies rely on the Pine Bush habitat and burning vegetation ensures their food gets enough sunlight to grow. It also helps pines by allowing sunlight to hit the forest floor again.
“The forest top kills saplings that are growing up,” said Briggs.
He said the Spring is the prime time for controlled burns but getting them done in the Fall can be just as important.
“This is the short window of time that we do it in the Fall, right when the leaves start to drop again, sunlight penetrates through the woods and starts drying out that material that’s on the forest floor,” said Briggs. “So there’s a short window in the Fall that starts around now and goes until mid-November.”
Briggs said they can prescribe burns until it’s below freezing, that’s typically when they stop for the year. This year they’ve attempted 15 burns, including Friday’s. Two were unsuccessful including one attempted on Tuesday.