CAMERON, N.Y. (WETM) – Just days after burning over a dozen acres of brush in Cameron Mills State Forest, the DEC announced that it has burned more than 40 more on state land in Steuben County to help protect rattlesnake habitat and explained why and how these fires are carried out.

The DEC announced that Forest Rangers burned 45 acres (almost 60 football fields) at the Helmer Creek Wildlife Management Area on April 14. According to the agency, rangers burned short grasses to help protect timber rattlesnake habitat.

The Cameron burn was part of several the DEC did that week. The department also burned 75 acres in Groveland (Livingston County), 27.5 acres on Long Island, and 26 acres near Syracuse.

The DEC said these burns also help choke out invasive species and reduce the risk of uncontrollable wildfires. DEC Burn Boss Bryan Gallagher explained that these fires require a 60-70 page document in preparation and hundreds of hours of classroom work to be qualified to execute them.

On April 10, the DEC burned around 13 acres in Cameron Mills State Forest to protect rattlesnake land. Timber rattlesnakes are listed as a threatened species in NY, according to the DEC.