Drones monitor prescribed fires in Massachusetts

Local News


(WWLP) – There were 17 prescribed fires this spring conducted by MassWildlife to improve wildlife habitat that were also monitored by drones.

According to MassWildlife, drones are being used this year to help monitor habitat conditions before, during, and after prescribed fires. Prescribed burns help get rid of thatch or leaf litter, remove hazardous fuels, promoting warm season grasses and herbs and eliminate woody encroachment or undesirable plants.

More than 560 acres within the Wildlife Management Areas had prescribed burns conducted across Massachusetts. MassWildlife was able to use the new tool (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) this year that provides real-time videography and thermal imagery. The images help MassWildlife evaluate the effects of the fires and improve management of habitat for wildlife over time.

The YouTube video above shows a prescribed fire conducted by MassWildlife in collaboration with DCR Fire District 9 and Montague Center Fire Department at Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area. The drone is able to provide changes in vegetation and document the progress.

Additional prescribed burns are scheduled to take place late summer and fall.

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