April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 38

WILDFIRE

PHOTO COURTESY OF JEN VANDERHOOF, KING COUNTY

the state's and region's fire management authorities and offices
of emergency management, " says
Rafael Payan, general manager of
the district. Fire response and other
emergency crews will be able to use
the ICC as a staging area. The district plans to begin constructing the
ICC this summer. In the meantime,
it has outlined plans to use its existing facilities as staging areas for
disaster response and emergency
housing, if necessary.
The ICC includes a two- to threeacre dog park that can be adapted
as a wildfire response staging area.
It provides space for " pumpkins "
or " portable swimming pool-like
structures " that supply water for
helicopters doing aerial water
drops, Payan says. The space also
could temporarily hold livestock
displaced by fires.
The district's wildfire preparation also includes establishing reliable water sources for firefighting,
using grazing cattle to reduce the

vegetation that contributes to wildfire spread and installing exhibits
that educate about the hazards of
wildfires and the benefits of controlled burns. After wildfires, the
district has used firebreaks as recreational trails and established aerial,
drone and ground-photo resources
to monitor ground-cover recovery,
Payan says.

Prescribed Burns Help
Wildfire Prevention in
North Carolina
On the East Coast, Mecklenburg
County Park and Recreation has
a long-standing tradition with
one common tool to reduce the
likelihood of and risk from wildfires: prescribed burns. About
20 years ago, this North Carolina district started conducting
prescribed burns to help prevent
wildfires, says Christa Furtsch
Rogers, Mecklenburg County
Natural Resources manager. " We
try and burn at least 500 acres of

our nature preserves annually,
and a big part of that is for wildfire prevention. "
The program started as part of
the county's Piedmont Prairie Restoration Program to protect and
restore several endangered plants
on prairie lands that depend on
fire for survival. This expanded to
forested areas because the county saw the benefits in maintaining
a more desirable composition of
species and reducing the coverage
of invasive species, Furtsch Rogers
says. " It helps us cut down costs for
treating those invasive plants, and
we gain a lot of really positive benefits along the way, like improving
wildlife habitat, nutrient cycling and
encouraging herbaceous growth on
the forest floor, " she explains.
The county's Natural Resources
Section manages the burns, which
are made possible by working
closely with numerous groups, including the North Carolina Forest
Service, local fire departments,
local air quality agency and the
North Carolina Prescribed Fire
Council. The county notifies nearby landowners before a burn takes
place and uses CharMeck Alerts
(CharMeckAlerts.org) to update
neighbors within a certain proximity of the burns. Furtsch Rogers
recognizes the challenges of gaining support from public officials
and the public for a new prescribed
burn program. " Take any opportunity to show people the risks of
wildfire and the benefits of prescribed fire, " she says. " It takes
some trust-building, so start early. "

Native Americans Bring
Fire Back to the Land
Smoke from wildfire is becoming a more
common problem for those in Seattle.

38	 Parks & Recreation

| A P R I L 2 02 1 | PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G

Being able to conduct prescribed
burns has two very important
meanings for the Yurok Tribe in
California. " The continuance of


http://www.CharMeckAlerts.org

April 2021 - Parks & Recreation

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https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
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https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
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https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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