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04/06/2021

DEEP Conduct Prescribed Burn Near Summit of Mohawk Mountain

Measure Will Reduce Dead Organic Matter at Site, Maintain Popular Mountaintop Vista, and Provide Training Opportunity for DEEP Staff

 

(Hartford, CT) – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) plans to conduct a prescribed burn of about 3 acres of brush in Mohawk State Forest in Cornwall, near the summit of Mohawk Mountain, tomorrow, April 7th, weather and conditions permitting.

Controlled burns are an important forest management practice. This particular burn builds on an initial burn conducted in 2015 to reduce dead organic matter at the site. This burn will further reduce dead organic matter and reduce topkill regeneration that will help to maintain the vista at the popular mountaintop summit, which is accessible by public vehicle. This burn also provides a valuable training opportunity for DEEP staff.

The burn areas are near the summit of Mohawk Mountain, which has an elevation of 1,683’. The North Burn Area lies on a north-facing slope, and the South Burn Area occurs on a south-facing slope. The two areas are on opposite sides of the summit, with the paved vehicle road turnaround between. The two burn areas are roughly the same size, about 1.5 acres each.

Toumey Road, the paved road leading up to the summit, will be blocked to public access for the duration of the burn. Trails within this area will be closed the day of the burn and signage will be posted the day of the event. The public may observe rising smoke as a result of this burn and weather conditions will be monitored to minimize impact in the local area.

DEEP forestry personnel will employ a detailed operational and safety plan to conduct this burn to ensure its effectiveness and safety. This plan has been communicated to municipal leaders and fire departments for Sharon, Cornwall, Goshen and Warren.

DEEP plans and administers a number of controlled burns annually for various purposes, including maintaining grassland and shrubland habitat for species in decline in Connecticut from a loss of farmland and early successional habitat.  Fire can also assist in maintaining pitch pine sand plain forest (which is one of the most imperiled ecosystems in the state), and to assist with forestry objectives such as oak regeneration, which is disturbance-dependent.  Controlled burning is a valuable tool to natural resource managers to maintain habitat and vegetative diversity.

Forest management is the application of scientific and technical principles by a certified professional in order to meet specific goals.  It takes many forms, but usually involves periodic treatments or practices which are done to change forest conditions.  Forest management uses a variety of practices, such as prescribed burns and timber harvesting, to provide a balance of important societal and ecological forests.  More information about forest management in Connecticut is available here.

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