JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The annual prescribed burn season at JBLM for ecological restoration, habitat maintenance and wildfire prevention is underway, according to JBLM Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Division.
JBLM conducts ecological burns throughout the spring and summer for two reasons. First, the dry conditions ensure invasive species such as Scot’s Broom are dry and burn better – making the fire a more effective way to destroy this invasive plant. Second, a dry fire produces less smoke reducing the risk smoke will drift into populated areas.
Prairie, Gary oak and ponderosa pine habitats on JBLM are highly fire dependent ecosystems that have adapted to frequent low intensity fires. The use of prescribed fire is an essential tool for the restoration and maintenance of these habitats. Controlled burns also reduce fuel loadings, which reduces wildfire risks. Additionally, prescribed burns increase the safety of service members by decreasing the risk of accidental fires that may result from training activities.
To reduce the risk of a fire getting out of control, prescribed burns are carefully planned and weather conditions are closely monitored to ensure operations can be carried out safely.
Environmental Division officials monitor and control the prescribed fires with their first priority being fire fighter and public safety. They use trained and experienced fire professionals to conduct the operations safely, plus they control the size and spread of the controlled burns, and take necessary steps to eliminate smoke intrusion.
Residents can report nuisance smoke by calling the JBLM Fire Dispatch office at (253) 912-2049.
Residents can also report smoke complaints caused by military activity using JBLM Form 761. This form can be downloaded at: http://www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/files/impact_march2015.pdf. Residents can also call JBLM Public Affairs at (253) 967-0146 or (253) 967-0604.
Residents can check the JBLM prescribed burn schedule by going to the following website: http://www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/publicworks/sustainability/Calendar.aspx.