Ever since having the amazing opportunity to assist in several prescribed burns in Ossipee, NH and Kennebunk, ME, I have been fascinated in the technique. I was trained as a Type 2 Wild Land Firefighter and had always envisioned being sent out west to fight wild fires; I had no idea people intentionally lit fires and controlled them to meet land management/conservation objectives. While assisting with those burns I learned a bit about the rare natural communities, such as pitch pine-scrub oak and sand plain grasslands, and their dependence on fire to regenerate and thrive.
I want to deepen my knowledge and understanding of prescribed fire as a conservation technique by focusing on it in my thesis research. I will be looking at the rare pitch pine-scrub oak communities naturally found in New England, at three different locations in New Hampshire and Maine. My study will compare burned and unburned sites within those three locations, to get a better understanding of the role fire has played in the past and present.