HomeState of NHJust out of Town: Prescribed Burn Planned for Blue Job State Forest...

Just out of Town: Prescribed Burn Planned for Blue Job State Forest to Improve Wildlife Habitat

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the Division of Forests and Lands, and the New Hampshire Prescribed Fire Council with support from the New Boston Space Force Station, the New Hampshire Army National Guard, and the White Mountain National Forest will conduct a “prescribed burn” in a portion of the blueberry barrens on Blue Job Mountain in Farmington, NH.

This spring’s prescribed burn may occur as late as May 31; the date will be finalized when the weather and atmospheric conditions are determined to be safe. To ensure public safety, all hiking trails leading to the top of Little Blue Job will be closed on the day of the burn.

“Conducting a prescribed burn requires planning and execution by trained wildland fire personnel,” said Chief Steven Sherman of the NH Forest Protection Bureau. “The team will make sure that weather and vegetation conditions are just right so that the day’s objectives—in this case improving habitat for area wildlife—are achieved.”

The prescribed fire is part of a larger plan to maintain important young forest and barrens habitat that will benefit a variety of wildlife. It will also help maintain views of the surrounding landscape and blueberry picking opportunities so enjoyed by visitors to the mountain. Every few years, a portion of the barrens will be mowed to knock back young trees along the edges of the barrens. This will be followed up with a prescribed fire to help maintain the blueberries.

“The trees will re-sprout, providing important habitat for several colorful songbirds whose populations have been declining, while blueberries and their flowers will provide an important source of food for a variety of wildlife, from bears to bees,” said Jim Oehler, Habitat Biologist for NH Fish and Game. “To maintain healthy plants and fruit production, blueberry bushes have to be pruned periodically, and fire is one of the most commonly used and effective means to do that.”

Blue Job Mountain has a long history of prescribed fire. State staff conducted several burns there from the late 1990s and into the 2000s. The last prescribed burn was in 2018. The area was also periodically burned when it was a commercial blueberry operation prior to state ownership.

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