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Conservation group works to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

Wildfires are preventable with the use of cooler-burning prescribed fires. Since Jan. 1, 2005, state and federal employees monitored nearly 35,000 wildfires, which burned more than 3 million acres across North America. Some fires destroyed personal property, including more than 250 buildings. Each year, new homes are being built in forests left unmanaged for years. These forests are full of dry fuels that--when conditions are right--act as tinder and kindle huge wildfires.

State and federal agencies team up with nonprofit conservation groups, such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, to make the forests and homes safer from wildfire. When moisture conditions are perfect, land managers initiate a prescribed burn, which is a safe, cool-burning and manageable fire before fuel loads, like pine needles and dead branches, build to an unsafe level and catastrophic wildfire takes over.

"Prescribed fire is a necessity in active land management. When you can mimic a burn that took place naturally in the forest's history, you make forests safer and improve wildlife habitat. Everyone benefits," said Dr. James E. Kennamer NWTF's Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs. "Each year, we work with state and federal land managers to help fund prescribed fire projects, but in the past, litigation has held up prescribed burns and other fuel-reducing projects on many national forests. Fire is part of nature and everyone suffers when fire is excluded."

Since 2002, NWTF state and local chapters have spent more than $182,000 in 18 states to help fund prescribed fire projects. Through NWTF's Hunting Heritage Super Fund, volunteers donate money to further the work government agencies do on the ground.

"Our volunteers really believe in keeping the forests healthy," said Kennamer. "They know that in order for their kids and grandchildren to enjoy what we have now, they have to help get work done on the ground."

To learn more about prescribed fire and how the NWTF works with state and federal agencies to prevent wildfires, call (800) THE-NWTF,
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Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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