Plan Prescribed Fire at Appleton Farms Grass Rides to Reduce Wildfire Hazards and Restore Rare Habitat

Contact Information

Russell Hopping
Ecology Program Director
The Trustees of Reservations

Hamilton, MANovember 2, 2011 – This fall The Trustees of Reservations, in partnership with the Hamilton Fire Department and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Bureau of Fire Control will implement a Prescribed Fire Plan at Appleton Farms Grass Rides in Hamilton. The partners will apply a controlled burn (prescribed fire) to three to four acres of the Grass Rides for the purposes of improving public and firefighter safety by reducing fuel loads (the amount of leaves, dead wood and plants that can burn). The controlled burns will also provide training opportunities for firefighters and protect and promote rare species and wildlife habitat.

The partners’ priority is the overall safety of the public and firefighters, as well as neighboring properties, during the prescribed fires. The partners wish to mitigate the risks associated with wildfire by reducing fuels in a controlled manner. Prescribed fire is fire that is intentionally ignited under specific (prescribed) environmental conditions by trained personnel to meet predefined management objectives. Applying prescribed fire allows managers to position equipment and firefighters in advance and select the conditions under which a fire will burn; in turn, managers are able to greatly control the fire’s behavior for the best possible outcome. The partners will strategically reduce fuel loads one acre at a time, minimizing smoke and the threat to public safety and property from a possibly larger, uncontrolled wildfire. Prescribed fire will also have significant wildlife benefits. The field habitat at the Grass Rides supports fire-adapted plants, including state-listed rare species. These species benefit from periodic fire, which removes low-lying trees and shrubs that shade out grasses and wildflowers, and which also prevent fire-adapted plants from germinating.

Prescribed fire activities will be restricted to weekends and are weather dependent. For more information, please contact The Trustees of Reservations at 978.921.1944.

About The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees of Reservations is the nation’s oldest statewide land conservation organization, founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891 to “hold in trust” and care for properties of scenic, cultural and natural significance. Supported by members, donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 106 spectacular “reservations” located on more than 26,000 acres in 76 communities throughout Massachusetts for current and future generations to enjoy.

The Trustees work to promote healthy, active, and green communities locally and around the state by providing hundreds of year-round programs, events and engagement opportunities for all ages. Most property entry fees, programs and events are free-of-charge or discounted for members. Committed to sustainable conservation and stewardship, The Trustees and are working to reduce their overall carbon footprint by caring for and managing their reservations in the “greenest” way possible, and promoting healthy landscapes that can adapt to or resist the changes that climate change.

Accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, The Trustees are an established leader in the conservation movement and model for other land trusts nationally and internationally. One of the largest nonprofits in Massachusetts, The Trustees employ 150 full-time, 49 regular part-time, and 400 seasonal staff with expertise in ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out more or to become a member or volunteer, please contact