Why does the Marine Base set itself on fire?
For the first time in four years, the base conducted a prescribed burn and they started by lighting a drip line and letting the sparks fly.
MCLB Natural Resource Officer Julie Robbins says they start the process with a very specific plan.
"The first thing that we do is we set a back fire, which is a fire into the wind - that creates a good black line and provides us with some security for the fire as far as containment" says Robbins.
The base burns sections of the woods in 20 foot increments so the fire stops when it meets the previous line of fire. The carefully designed burn plan includes the daily forecast with the wind direction and speed so officials know exactly how to burn.
While conducting a prescribed burn, they pay close attention to how the fire is burning to make sure it doesn't get out of control. "We can get flames upward of 20 feet or more in some of these pine stands. We have a lot of fuels that reach up to 10 to 20 feet themselves, so the fire can be pretty intense" says Robbins.
If a controlled burn spread and became a wild fire the MCLB Albany has firefighters and a water tank on base that can quickly extinguish the fire. Overall, the process is done to help the land and the animals. "Prescribed burning is a good management practice for the forest. It reduces fuel levels, so if we have wild fires we won't have these intense wild fires. It also improves habitat for the wildlife that are found aboard the MCLB Albany" says Robbins.
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