McGRATH (AP) -- The state Department of Natural Resources planned to ignite a large prescribed burn Thursday on state land in the Farewell area of the western Interior.
The fire is intended to improve habitat for moose, bison and other wildlife in a 45,000-acre area, about 50 miles southeast of McGrath. The sedges and willows that grow back after a fire provide important winter forage for wildlife.
Officials with the state Department of Natural Resources say the burn has been in the planning stages for several years.
''It's a very good time now because of the subsurface moisture from spring runoff. Grasses and other surface fuels are dry but the subsurface is still wet and there are patches of snow and ice in the area,'' said Jeff Browne, fire information officer for the department.
Fire crews will burn the perimeter of the area and then ignite fires within the proposed burn area by helicopter. The fire will burn for about four to seven days, depending on the weather, Browne said.
Firefighters will be standing by to protect private property outside the burn area.
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