Fire is an important part of the ecology of sagebrush habitats, but at the same time, wildfires are a leading cause of sagebrush loss.
It's neither possible nor advisable to eliminate all fire from sagebrush. But BLM fire management activities are configured to protect remaining sagebrush habitat and recover habitat that's been lost to or damaged by unwanted wildland fire or other factors.
The aim is to limit damage to these habitats by planning thoroughly in advance of fires, acting promptly during fires, and effectively rehabilitating burned areas after fires.
Large-scale fuels-management treatments break up areas of burn-prone invasive species, decreasing the chance of a large fire that would threaten remaining high-quality habitat.
Treating cheatgrass and other invasives, seeding with sagebrush, removing competing vegetation, and establishing fire-resistant "greenstrips" open up overgrown leks and enhance other seasonal sage-grouse habtitat.
In 2011, the BLM treated 214,600 acres of prime sagebrush habitat by mowing, seeding or spraying invasive species, and plans to treat 466,000 acres in 2012.
| ||The BLM positions fire suppression resources where fires are likely to occur, to allow the most prompt response in the event a fire starts. |
| ||Firefighter awareness of the importance of sagebrush protection is stressed in training, fire briefings, shift plans and at other appropriate times. |
Detailed maps showing sage-grouse populations and habitats are used in fire dispatch centers to help with decisions about deployment and suppression.
| Local BLM resource specialists assist fire managers with integrating sage-grouse considerations during initial and extended attack in sagebrush habitat.|| |
BLM fire managers use informational "toolboxes" containing local-scale maps of habitat and populations, a list of best management practices for the area, and information for contacting the local BLM resource advisor, to ensure that sagebrush conservation is integrated into decisions about attack and suppression.