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Snapshots Of A Controlled Burn On Connecticut’s Coast

Dan Evans is a forester at Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown. Along with a treaded vehicle called a "bombardier," Evans' job is to "hold" the fire. He watches closely to maintain established perimeter lines as seven acres of grass at Harkness burns. Photo by Patrick Skahill for Connecticut Public Radio

Dan Evans is a forester at Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown. Along with a treaded vehicle called a “bombardier,” Evans’ job is to “hold” the fire. He watches closely to maintain established perimeter lines as seven acres of grass at Harkness burns. Photo by Patrick Skahill for Connecticut Public Radio

Recently, part of Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford caught fire.

But this shoreline blaze wasn’t a disaster.

It was actually a carefully-planned “burn” aimed at preserving what’s been called the “last remnant” of eastern prairie in Connecticut.

Before fifteen acres are set to flame, workers scorch ground, creating a blackened “safe zone” to contain the fire.

Each member of the crew has a specific role. Bruce Villwock, district fire warden, hauls a hose used to wet down land adjacent to the planned blaze.

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