Monday, March 2, 2020

Prescribed burns planned on the Nantahala Ranger District to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health

The U.S. Forest Service is planning 16 prescribed burns on the Nantahala Ranger District in the coming months to reduce the reduce the risk of wildfires. The low- to medium-intensity burns also create healthier, more diverse, and more resilient forests that can better support wildlife.

The dates for the burns and the actual number of units burned will depend upon weather conditions. Burning days are changeable because the proper conditions are needed; wind and relative humidity are key factors in fire behavior, safety, and smoke control. Prescribed burning will only occur when environmental conditions permit. During the burns, proper personnel and equipment will be on site and some roads and trails may be closed to ensure safety.

All prescribed burns are thoroughly planned and analyzed by a team of specialists to ensure that wildlife, fisheries, rare plants, and historic sites are not harmed. Habitat for a variety of wildlife can be improved through carefully-planned and executed prescribed burns. Regular burns promote the growth of plants that provide food for wildlife including important game animals such as deer and turkey.

Prescribed burning is an important and versatile forest management tool that can mimic natural fire disturbances and reduce underbrush and flammable vegetation, which is key to limiting wildfire growth. During the historic fire season of 2016, some fires were quickly extinguished because of previous prescribed burning that had occurred in those areas.

For more information please click here or contact the Nantahala Ranger District at 828-524-6441.


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