Prescribed burn to aid Karner blue butterfly coming to Concord airport area

  • This map shows land around Concord Municipal Airport, where prescribed burns may happen between now and Nov. 15 to help the Karner blue butterfly. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Saturday, September 16, 2017

This fall will again see deliberate burning coming to property around Concord Municipal Airport to improve conditions for the Karner blue butterfly.

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and other agencies will conduct what is known as prescribed burns some time between now and Nov. 15, depending on weather and other conditions.

“Planning and preparation are a large part of prescribed burning,” said Heidi Holman, the Wildlife Diversity Biologist for N.H. Fish and Game who oversees the project.

The burning is designed to protect the Concord pine barrens, an ecosystem with sandy or acidic soil that isn’t good for crops but supports certain plants, such as wild lupine, that thrive after fires come through an area. These can support several endangered or rare species, such as the Karner blue, New Hampshire’s state butterfly. Prescribed fires have been held around the airport for the past several years.

In 2009, New Hampshire became the first state in New England to establish a Prescribed Fire Council, a government-sanctioned group with 14 members from state and local agencies, nonprofits and colleges. It establishes protocols, standards and best practices for these deliberate fires, and helps groups identify areas that can benefit from such fires.

The prescribed burn is allowed under a state-issued burn permit, which also serves as a smoke management permit. Officials said precautions would be taken to limit smoke and control the spread of the fire.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)