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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy will now share staff in order to better manage controlled burns on their lands.

In the past, the two agencies have typically managed prescribed burns on up to a million acres annually, but recent budget cuts have lowered that number

The two hope to make more efficient use of staff and resources, allowing more burns to happen.

“It’s very much a way of trying to look for efficiencies,” said Blane Heumann, director of fire at The Nature Conservancy. “If The Nature Conservancy has a good day to conduct a burn, but we lack a particular type of specialist, if Fish and Wildlife is nearby and available, this agreement would allow them to share that expertise and allow a burn to happen.”

The two groups are in charge of more than 3.2 million acres of Arizona land. That’s roughly four percent of the state.

Heumann didn't offer an estimate of how much extra burning the agreement will allow.

But he said the first place Arizona will probably see the use of this agreement is when the two groups thin out northern Arizona’s Hart Prairie Preserve, which is tentatively planned for this spring.