COLONIE - Save the butterflies,
burn the forest was the Pine Bush Preserve’s approach
The controlled burn creates the needed openings for the
blue lupine, which is the endangered Karner blue butterfly’s only food
plant while it’s a caterpillar, said Christopher Hawver,
executive director of the preserve.
Fire rejuvenates the plants, which adapted to burning,
Hawver said. “Nowadays
you don’t have natural fires, or if you do they’re
put out quickly. What we do is mimic natural fire.”
Besides encouraging vegetative growth, controlled burning
of ground plants like scrub oak, wild blueberry plants and
rue is intended to prevent more devastating fires.
“If we burn it, there is less of a chance of a real wildfire,” he
Thursday’s burn remained contained. Its smoke was directed
toward the mall because it posed a greater risk in other directions,
Some nearby Crossgates Mall shoppers were left gasping
“I walked outside of Crossgates and couldn’t breathe
and I have asthma,” said Jim Grady, 41 of Glenmont.
Some controlled burns have grown out of control. In April
1999 a Pine Bush controlled burn scorched 75 acres and
closed a stretch of the Thruway.