Baylisascaris procyonis is a zoonotic parasite that can cause serious health issues in their intermediate hosts. Eggs of the parasite are shed in the feces of raccoons (Procyon lotor), the definitive host, and can remain viable in the environment for years. Temperatures at 49 C are the LD50 for B. procyonis eggs. Our objective was to determine the effect of prescribed fire as a lethal control technique for B. procyonis eggs. Aliquots of 1,000 viable B. procyonis eggs were placed on the soil surface and at a depth of 2 cm within 10×10 m grass plots consisting of approximately 2,000 kg/ha and 4,000 kg/ha fuel loads. In addition, aliquots of 1,000 viable B. procyonis eggs were placed at 0, 0.7, 1.2, and 1.8 m from the fire's edge and within a 1 m2 circle of bare ground on the leading edge, center of circle, and trailing edge of the fire of similar plots. Prescribed fire killed B. procyonis eggs on the soil surface up to 0.7 m from the fire's edge at fuel loads of 4,000 kg/ha but was ineffective at depths of 2 cm. Fuel loads of 2,000 kg/ha killed only 50% of B. procyonis eggs on the soil surface at the fire's edge but was not effective killing eggs at greater distances or at soil depths. Prescribed fire can be used to reduce the quantity of B. procyonis eggs on the soil surface within an environment but will not be effective in eradicating the parasite eggs.
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Vol. 57 • No. 1