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Fish and Wildlife preparing for controlled burn season

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service natural resource professionals are preparing for the start of the controlled burning season. From mid-March to mid-June, staff at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's St. Croix Wetland Management District in New Richmond, Wis., will be mobilizing crews of firefighters and equipment for scheduled burns on portions of 24 Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) in Wisconsin's St. Croix, Polk and Dunn Counties.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service improves wildlife habitat through the careful use of controlled burns on more than 400,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge System lands each year. The Waterfowl Production Areas in St. Croix, Polk and Dunn Counties are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Controlled burns rejuvenate prairies by consuming accumulated dead vegetation, stimulating new growth and controlling non-native plants. In turn, wildlife enjoy higher quality habitat conditions for nesting, protection and a more abundant food supply. In addition, controlled burns help protect our neighbors if wildfire should occur. Periodic burns reduce fuel loads lowering the threat to private land in the event of wildfire. Controlled burns are an essential tool to accomplish our goal of restoring the prairie, wetlands and oak savanna historically found in the St. Croix Wetland Management District.

All of our fires are carefully planned and we take great effort to cause as little inconvenience to local residents as possible. We prefer to burn when the prevailing winds carry smoke away from homes and busy roads but this becomes more difficult as more homes are built adjacent to your public wildlife areas. Despite our best efforts, smoke occasionally crosses a road. We are prepared with road signs and trained personnel to provide for public safety if smoke impacts a road.

If you have questions or concerns, please call the St. Croix Wetland Management District Office at 715-246-7784. For up to date information on the WPAs we are burning, check out the St. Croix Wetland Management District on Facebook.

For more information on the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visit midwest.fws.gov.

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