- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Media Contact for Funding a fire
Marion Larson, MassWildlife
During the spring of 2018, Thompson/Center Arms joined MassWildlife staff and partners on a prescribed fire. Prescribed fire is an essential tool for managing wildlife habitats and fire-influenced natural communities in Massachusetts. Over 200 species of greatest conservation need in Massachusetts benefit from habitats created and maintained by prescribed fires.
Thompson/Center Arms, a firearms manufacturer located in Springfield, MA, joined MassWildlife’s prescribed fire crew as part of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s “Partner with a Payer” Program, an initiative to connect the firearms industry with state fish and wildlife agencies. Many people may be surprised to learn that the majority of state fish and wildlife conservation in America is funded by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) through federal excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition, archery and fishing equipment, and motorboat fuel. Manufacturers of these products collect this tax and pay the funds to the federal government, which are then distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies to restore, conserve, and manage wildlife and their habitats. “Partner with a Payer” helps manufacturers better appreciate their role in funding conservation programs by joining biologists in the field.
Without the critical funding WSFR provides, important conservation efforts like prescribed burns would not be possible. This spring, MassWildlife staff burned over 420 acres of fire-adapted vegetation to benefit rare, as well as common, native wildlife and plants such as the New England cottontail, barren’s buckmoth, American woodcock, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and wild lupine. Prescribed fire:
- helps seeds germinate;
- encourages the growth of native plants;
- creates important openings and cover for animals to feed, nest, and rest;
- releases nutrients from burned materials back into the soil; and,
- reduces the risk of uncontrolled wildfires by removing flammable debris and heavy fuel loads.
All prescribed fires are managed and controlled by trained professionals for safety and habitat management. From identifying lands that benefit from prescribed fires, evaluating fuel conditions, determining the need for other complementary treatments, writing the prescription, obtaining all of the permissions, making notifications, and then preparing the area for the actual burn date, a lot of preparation and partnerships are required to accomplish a prescribed burn. Learn more about prescribed fires in Massachusetts here: www.mass.gov/prescribedfire