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Prescribed Burns Planned For Oahe Dam

National Park Service

State and federal agencies will work together on prescribed fires around the Oahe Dam over the next couple months. 

Prescribed burns are an annual  land management tool.   

Brian Korman is a natural resource specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers. 

He says the burns provide a variety of benefits. 

“We use prescribed fire to improve our wildlife areas promote better grass growth, more species diversity for the wildlife to use, and we also use it on the actual dam embankment to help reduce litter, which will help better grass growth to protect against erosion and also helps with inspections of the dam embankment.” 

Korman says interagency cooperation with the Forest Service and state Game Fish and Parks department  ensures there are enough trained staff  to conduct burns safely. 

They’re planning  burns for late April and early May. But they’ll wait if necessary for good conditions. 

“We’re looking at that not only the day of the burn but for days afterwards so that we can safely pull off the burn on the day of and make sure that we give ourselves a couple days to extinguish any hot spots that might still be smoldering inside the unit before – lets say a wind comes up – and helps reduce the chance that that fire is going to escape on us after we’ve already finished it.” 

Korman says fire crews try not  to affect  air quality too much, especially in residential areas.  

He says nearby roads might shut down if smoke affects visibility and safe driving conditions.