Fire, wildlife and habitat talk scheduled at library |

Fire, wildlife and habitat talk scheduled at library

Bud Werner Memorial Library, Yampatika and the Routt National Forest present “Fire, Wildlife & Habitat: An exploration of fire and its influence in the West,” an evening with U.S. Forest Service Wildlife Biologist Missy Dressen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, in Library Hall. During this free talk, Dressen will explore the history of fire in the U.S. and work through a timeline on how fire is managed today.

Historically, fire patterns were altered across the West with fire suppression, but today’s conditions have changed with a buildup of fuels, homes in the urban interface and climate change. With these changes, wildlife habitats are likely experiencing changes beyond their historical range of variability. In some areas, habitats have remained for decades in a late successional phase, which may alter the wildlife dynamics, distribution and species composition. In other places, wildfire is changing Western landscapes, and fire’s role can have positive and negative effects on wildlife.

In one management scenario, prescribed fire can be introduced on the landscape to restore habitats for a variety of wildlife species, including big game. Initiating a pattern of regular fire intervals can keep habitats in a mosaic of successional stages, particularly important for vegetation that may have had frequent fires in the past. A local case study will explore fire ecology, application of fire and wildlife’s response to the habitat changes.

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