Controlled, relatively cool-burning fires can reinvigorate wildlife habitat on forest lands.
The Boise National Forest has begun its prescribed fire season. Foresters see it as a way to maintain a healthy forest, but a "cool" burn within the forest can bring back shrubs that feed many kinds of wildlife, most visibly deer and elk.
Fish and Game wildlife biologist Neil Johnson said springtime burns in a forested area can enhance wildlife habitat. "Prescribed burns in a closed canopy forest can provide patches of more mountain shrubs and grasses. The fire promotes better growth, better nutrition and better vegetation. This benefits elk that are grazing animals. It also provides spring and summer range for deer."
In addition, the mineral content of the ash after a burn enhances the soil and increases the nutritional content of the plants, according to Johnson.