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    San Juan Island

    National Historical Park Washington

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Prescribed Fire Slated for American Camp

Fire Moving Toward Redoubt
An Olympic National Park fire crew lights a prescribed fire at American Camp in 2005.
Mike Vouri

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Date: July 9, 2010
Contact: Peter Dederich, (360) 378-2240, ext. 2223
Contact: Jerald Weaver, (360) 378-2240, ext. 2224

National Park Service fire crews plan to conduct a prescribed fire on six acres of the American camp prairie between July 8 and 14, weather permitting, announced Superintendent Peter Dederich.

This year’s treatment will encompass a three-acre parcel adjacent to Pickett’s Lane and another three-acre section near the Redoubt. The fire is designed to reduce the amount of organic material and eliminate non-native seeds, which enables native plants to hold their own with non-native species.

Fire is one of the primary tools in the park’s long-term program to reestablish portions of the diverse native grassland once found on the American Camp prairie. Although remnants of the native plant community exist, large areas have been invaded by non-native plants, in part as a result of farming, as well as the exclusion of fire, used by native peoples before the arrival of Europeans.

To prepare for the burn, the fire crew will mow a buffer zone around the boundary of the intended burn area. This fire line will be wetted down prior to ignition to contain fire to the research area. Adequate crews, equipment and water resources will be positioned to control the burn or to quickly extinguish it if necessary.

Safety factors, weather conditions, air quality and other environmental conditions will be continually monitored as part of any fire management operation. The use of fire as an aid to prairie restoration is an activity identified in the park’s approved fire plan.

To view the plan, visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/sajh/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm For questions or comments please contact Peter Dederich, Park Superintendent at 360-378-2240 or at Peter_Dederich@nps.gov.

Did You Know?

West Valley Road on San Juan Island

Many of San Juan Island's roads trace sheep runs cut by Hudson's Bay Company workers. They were led, in part, by Fort Victoria Chief Factor and colonial Gov. James Douglas, from 1853 to 1859. Many of the workers were Cowichan Indians from Vancouver Island.