At a Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission Meeting on Monday, commissioners and staff raised concerns over some provisions of the Dukes County Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

The plan, released in Oct. 2021, was developed by SWCA Environmental Consultants with input from Island organizations. It focuses on establishing preventative wildfire measures as conditions on the Island become dryer and hotter due to climate change.

Land Bank ecologist Julie Russell, who attended a Sept. 13 Martha’s Vineyard Commission meeting regarding the proposal, said that the plan suggested prescribed burns on roughly half the land bank’s acreage, a volume she thought unwise.

“Right now [the commission] considers the land bank to be a big yes,” Ms. Russell said. “So right now, before it gets too out of hand… you might want to consider how you imagine the land bank being involved.”

At Monday’s meeting, Ms. Russel said she felt much of the area proposed is unsuitable either due to density of nearby development, presence of rare species, topology or other ecological conditions. She said that previous controlled burns on-Island had typically taken place on large tracts of land without trail access.

“I was a little shocked when I read it,” said Aquinnah commissioner Sarah Thulin of the proposed burn acreage.

Tisbury commissioner Nancy Weaver also took issue with parts of the plan, citing difficult experiences with attempted burns at Polly Hill Arboretum.

The commissioners voted to have Ms. Russel return to the MVC with their concerns, as well as suggesting she present her own recommendations for land bank properties which might be better suited to a prescribed burn strategy.

In other business, the commissioners approved two expenses to outfit existing structures at the newly acquired Quenomica Point property: $34,030 to install heat, AC and humidity control at the caretaker cottage, and $36,890 to make their new office location on the north side of the property accessible.