Gila District completes Land Corral prescribed fire

The BLM conducted the Land Corral prescribed fire in the St. David Cienega region of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). The February 18 fire was planned to be approximately 770 acres; actual consumption of fuel was greater than 90% in wetland regions and estimated at 30-40% in the dry sections.

a fire burns through vegetation as firefighters look on
Land Corral prescribed fire during active burning. BLM Photo

This fire was the result of many years of hard work involving fire staff, resource specialists, managers, and outside partners. Originally proposed in 2006, fuels specialists Dan Quintana, John Garrett, and Clyde England took on the task and finalized the burn plan in January, which led to a perfect widow of opportunity in February to complete the fire.

The objectives for the fire were to decrease fuel loading and to enhance wildlife habitat. The Cienega had not burned in over 30 years, which resulted in a dense, impenetrable stand of aquatic vegetation that would be uncontrollable if wildfire were to occur and made the Cienega nearly useless to native wildlife such as waterfowl, fishes, and amphibians.

The fire was successful in reducing the thick vegetation and results were immediately noticeable. Within a few days of the fire, wildlife was seen using the area both inside and adjacent to the burned area. This project will help fire staff to identify methods to return fire to more areas of the SPRNCA in the future and restore the ecosystem to a more native state. 

an area of blackened land after a prescribed fire
Land Corral prescribed fire post burn. BLM Photo