While wildland fire is not a common occurrence on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., fire management is a pivotal activity that can affect natural resource management activities and provide man-made asset protection.
Prescribed fire burn activities are planned for the Muroc Lake Golf Course near Rosamond Blvd. and Old Area C near Bailey Road from April 28 through May 10 depending on weather conditions. Road signs will notify drivers of current activities and smoke from the prescribed fire may be visible to the surrounding community.
Other prescribed fire burns will follow in the future at the Piute Ponds complex.
Prescribed fire is a cost-effective tool that can be used to meet these needs in certain habitat types, according to planners at the 412th Civil Engineer Group. Use of prescribed fire can improve wetland habitat quality and reduce hazardous fuels.
Prescribed burning utilizes both pile burning and broadcast burning.
Pile burning is planned at the golf course and the old housing area on Edwards. Pile burning manages fuel loads by limiting the size of burnable material into small piles. Piles are positioned in vegetation-cleared locations to control burn areas.
Broadcast burning covers larger areas and is used to reduce biomass and improve natural habitats. Man-made fire breaks such as roads or vegetation-cleared fire lines contain the burns.
All prescribed burning activities are determined based on how daily weather conditions could affect the fire and smoke conditions on the day of the planned burn.
The Air Force Wildland Fire Branch recently established 16 wildland support modules across America to assist with installation prescribed burning and wildfire suppression activities. The modules are comprised of a team of qualified and equipped personnel who conduct prescribed fire, mechanical fuel reduction and wildfire suppression response at installations within their area of responsibility.
The Vandenberg Air Force Base (California) Wildland Support Module supports both environmental management and fire and emergency services. The Vandenberg module provides certified wildland fire management support/personnel, wildland fire equipment, certified wildland fire training, and prescribed fire plans and smoke management plans as required by federal, state and county regulators in the local region.