The Vineyard Forest Reserve
Vineyard Gazette
With the latest acquisition of land by the state, the order of tak­ing of which by the Department of Conservation was published in last week’s paper, the forest reserve on Martha’s Vineyard comprises about 5000 acres. Encircling the heath hen reservation, which consists of 640 acres, this tract extends over the eastern plain lands, the least valuable of any land on the Island.
 
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Friday's Fierce Fire
Vineyard Gazette

Friday, May 12th, was a day of excitement over the eastern half of Martha's Vineyard when men from the towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and West Tisbury, and the country roundabout, in all to the number of several hundred persons, labored from 7 a. m. until nightfall, handicapped by a heavy wind, at times approaching a gale, in their efforts to control one of the most extensive woods and brush fires which has occurred on the island in years, if ever before. The property loss runs into the thousands.

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Elevated Fire Risk Today

The combination of dry air and gusty winds will enhance the risk for fires across the state, including on the Vineyard, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has announced.

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement warning of the increased threat.

“Local Fire Weather officials have advised that fine fuels, grasses and leaf litter, will be very receptive for ignition. In fact any fire across unshaded fine fuels can rapidly spread in these gusty conditions,” the statement said.

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Clearing Trees To See Forest’s Old Ecosystem
Peter Brannen

The red pine plantations of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest have been described as recently as 1998 by this paper as a “pine cathedral,” with evenly spaced rows of the northern evergreen towering above a forest floor nearly barren except for a carpet of needles. Now that cathedral has been all but sacked by fungal barbarians known as diplodia pinea which infect the trees from the shoots and rot them to the core.

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Spring Burns Begin Across Island to Dampen Danger of Big Fires
Peter Brannen

“We all help each other burn each other’s property,” says Bob Bale, the Nature Conservancy’s Southeast Massachusetts chapter fire manager. It may sound like an insurance fraud pact among pyromaniacs, but Mr. Bale is describing the efforts of the Martha’s Vineyard Prescribed Fire Partnership, a group that includes the Nature Conservancy, Mass Audubon’s Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, The Trustees of Reservations, the Polly Hill Arboretum and the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation.

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