The Pisgah Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest is planning to implement a prescribed burn in the Pink Beds area. The burn area will be up to 2,000 acres in size and will likely take place in the next six weeks depending on the weather. The purpose of the burn is to reduce the amount of hazardous fuels in the forest and to improve wildlife habitat. Forest Service Road #1206 (Yellow Gap Road), # 476 (Wolf Ford Road) and Sections of Pink Beds Loop trail (#118) and Barnett Branch (# 618) trail may be closed during the burn.
In 2011, approximately 24,000 acres of prescribed burns are scheduled on the four national forests across the state. The Pisgah, Appalachian and Grandfather Ranger Districts in Western North Carolina are working towards increasing the amount of acres treated annually as budgets allow.
Prescribed fire is a valuable wildlife and forest management tool. Many ecosystems throughout North Carolina include fire-adapted species. Many native plants and animals need fire in their habitats to reduce competition from invading species, and to add nutrients back into the soil.
Prescribed burns can reduce build-up of shrubs and dead wood. Burning the same tract of land on a rotation of every three to seven years reduces the buildup of vegetation (fuel), and decreases the chance of severe wildfire. Smoke from wildfires usually has a greater impact on nearby communities and carries more pollutants than smoke from controlled burns.
Prescribed burning also helps support strategic goals of restoring ecological systems to their natural resilience, restoring native vegetation, and protecting people and resources from catastrophic fires.
For more information on prescribed fire please visit the U S Forest Service website; http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/management/ and the NC Division of Forest Resources website; http://www.dfr.state.nc.us.