Over the next several months, the U.S. Forest Service will be conducting several prescribed burns across the four National Forests in North Carolina — Croatan, Uwharrie, Nantahala and Pisgah. The agency will notify the public when the decision is made to conduct prescribed burns in their area. The Forest Service may close area trails and roads the day before the prescribed burn.
“The safety of the public and firefighters is the number one priority,” said Riva Duncan, Fire Management Officer with the National Forests in North Carolina. “The public is asked to heed signs posted at trailheads and roads and to stay away from burn areas and closed roads and trails.”
Prescribed burning is an important and versatile forest management tool that can mimic historically natural fire disturbances, reduce hazardous fuels buildup, and improve habitat for a variety of wildlife. Prescribed burns promote the growth of herbaceous plants that provide food, such as fruit, for wildlife including important game animals such as deer and turkey. Prescribed fire is an essential ecological process for restoration and maintenance of longleaf pine ecosystems.
All prescribed burns are analyzed by a team of specialists to ensure the wildlife, fisheries, rare plants and historic sites are not harmed. Burning days are fluid because the proper weather conditions are needed to achieve desired results. Prescribed burning will only occur when environmental conditions permit; wind and relative humidity are key factors in fire behavior, safety and smoke control. The Forest Service is required to meet state air quality requirements and will conduct smoke modeling to reduce the possible effects of smoke emissions. The proper personnel and equipment will be on site during the prescribed burn.
For additional information on the significance of prescribed burning:
- The Role of Fire in Shaping the Structure and Function of Forest Ecosystems in the Southern Appalachians