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Tracy Young                                                                                                                  June 9, 2004
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(Phone:  321/867-2468)

KSC Release No. 37-04

NASA Partners With Fish and Wildlife Service to Reduce Wildfires

Images of the 1998 wildfires at Kennedy Space Center and last year's fires in California prompted the partnering of NASA and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove some of the dense foliage and trees from the KSC Industrial Area to reduce the risk of potential future wildfires.

The project, referred to as "thinning," began this month and requires the removal of 70 to 80 percent of the pine trees in the area. The goal of the project is to reduce the intensity of wildfires and provide a safer working environment for firefighters and KSC employees.

"Thinning the pines benefits the firefighters who protect KSC facilities and also benefits the native wildlife that need an open natural condition," said Boyd Blihove, fire management specialist for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "The protection of human life, space exploration equipment and the buildings they are housed in make this fuel-reduction project a worthwhile endeavor for NASA and the Fish and Wildlife Service."

Questions concerning the project should be directed to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge at 321/861-0667.


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