Controlled Burns Planned on Cape Cod

By Tanner Stening, Cape Cod Times

MASHPEE, MA — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast Regional Fire program, in collaboration with other agencies, will conduct a series of controlled burns this spring on the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge and on property at the Falmouth Rod and Gun Club.

Controlled burn on Cape Cod

Controlled burns refresh young forest and shrubland habitat for wildlife, including New England cottontails./Joel Carlson

The burns are designed to reduce the risk of wildfires near homes and improve habitat for New England cottontail rabbits and northern long-eared bats, according to a statement from the federal agency.

The Mashpee site is off Red Brook and Great Oak roads, and the Falmouth site is off Carriage Shop Road.

Trained wildland firefighters from the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and cooperating agencies will conduct the burns. The operation will take place under a “tight set of conditions” to reduce impact on the public and wildlife, though smoke may impair visibility on public roads passing through the refuge area. Refuge personnel will post warning signs to advise drivers of any hazardous conditions. Smoke columns produced could be visible for several miles.

The exact dates of the controlled burns will depend on weather conditions.