Prescribed burns planned at refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to conduct a series of prescribed burns at Muscatatuck and Big Oaks national wildlife refuges in the coming weeks.

Fire range technician Casey Mefford said the burns, which involve anywhere from 10 to 1,000 acres, will occur only when weather conditions, including relative humidity, temperature and wind speeds, are OK.

The burns are designed to improve wildlife habitats and remove hazardous fuels, reducing the chance of wildfires.

Mefford said there will be at least two prescribed burns at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge east of Seymour, and they will be visible from Interstate 65 and U.S. 50.

A crew of eight to 10 firefighters, including Mefford and Brian Winters, the fire management officer for the refuges, will be on hand for each burn. Mefford and Winters, who is stationed at Big Oaks (formerly the Jefferson Proving Ground), are full-time firefighters who often travel to the western part of the country to help fight wildfires, Mefford said.

He said it has been a few years since any prescribed burns were completed at Muscatatuck.

Information: 812-273-0783.