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News / Clark County News

Controlled burn on Bachelor Island successful

By Dameon Pesanti, Columbian staff writer
Published: September 28, 2018, 8:20pm
2 Photos
A controlled burn at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge on Friday cleared about 26 acres of land to improve habitat for native plants.
A controlled burn at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge on Friday cleared about 26 acres of land to improve habitat for native plants. (Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge) Photo Gallery

The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge completed its first-ever controlled prescribed burn Friday afternoon on Bachelor Island.

The 26-acre burn was designed to beat back noxious weeds that have encroached on the landscape, give native plants the opportunity to re-establish themselves and improve the site’s plant diversity.

Christopher Lapp, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex project leader, said the smoke from the fire stayed away from the city of Ridgefield and blew down the Columbia River.

The burn should have a cascading benefit on the plants and wildlife in the refuge.

Now that the burn is finished and the ground cover is cleared, predators such as coyotes and raptors are expected to pursue burrowing prey. New vegetation should return quickly and capitalize on the soil’s increased nutrient load. The growing plants should benefit geese, cranes and deer.

Because the fire proved to be successful, the refuge anticipates incorporating it as one of its future management tools.

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Columbian staff writer