The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) confirms it will conduct a one-day prescribed burn on part of Dutch Island, a state property located in Narragansett Bay between Jamestown and North Kingstown.
The burn, to be held tomorrow, Tuesday, March 29, weather permitting, will be led by DEM’s Divisions of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and Agriculture and Forest Environment.
DEM is advising that smoke may be visible from the Jamestown Bridge and surrounding areas and that some residents may smell the smoke as opposed to seeing it. DEM does not anticipate that the smoke generated by this burn will be thick or billow up into the atmosphere as if from a wildfire.
On the ground, DEM and firefighting personnel – including local wildland firefighters who will be using the burn as a training exercise – will control the flames to around two to four feet to allow some predictability for the dispersal of smoke and to minimize impacts to residents. DEM has notified the town halls, fire departments, police departments, and schools of both Jamestown and North Kingstown.
DEM says in a press release that there is no need for residents to contact emergency services if they see a fire on Dutch Island or smell the smoke emanating from it. DEM advises the public not to approach the island to avoid distracting the fire crews and unnecessarily occupying emergency personnel.
DEM personnel, along with the North Kingstown and Jamestown Fire Departments, as well as the fire professionals from Star Tree Wildlife Protection LLC, will follow an approved burn plan. The burn plan, created by Star Tree Wildlife Protection and approved by DEM, ensures the safe and successful implementation of fire on the island. During the burn, no area on the island will be fully enclosed by flames for safety. No animals living on the island will be harmed. (Click here for the explanation why.)
Project partners include the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration Fund, Wildlife Management Institute, USFWS Partners for Wildlife Program, and Star Tree Wildlife Protection LLC. USFWS’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program (WSFR) provides funding to states to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, their habitats. WSFR’s support allows DEM to protect and enhance wildlife habitat in Rhode Island forests and management areas through prescribed burns such as this, and ensure healthier, more diverse, and abundant wildlife populations.