Prescribed burns planned on the Grandfather Ranger District this spring

Last Updated on February 3, 2023 3:51 pm

Nebo, NC, February 03, 2023 – The U.S. Forest Service is planning five prescribed burns on the Grandfather Ranger District this spring season to restore habitat and reduce wildfire risk. The low- to medium-intensity burns create healthier, more diverse, and more resilient forests that can better support wildlife, while reducing the amount of hazardous fuels to limit wildfire risk to communities bordering the National Forest. One of these burns, Armstrong, will be used to remove competing vegetation in preparation for tree planting.

CountyClosest CommunityBurn UnitSize (acres)
McDowellLittle SwitzerlandArmstrong58
BurkeGinger CakeSteels Creek4156
CaldwellCollettsvilleAdam's Mtn415
CaldwellBlowing RockBoyd Gap200

Burning could begin as early as this coming Monday, February 6, at Adam’s Mountain, if conditions allow. However, 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 and safety conditions permit.

All prescribed burns are planned and analyzed by a team of specialists to ensure that wildlife, fisheries, rare plants, and historic sites are not harmed. Burning recreates the natural disturbance patterns that historically existed on the dry, south facing slopes of the Grandfather District. 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.

In addition to habitat restoration, prescribed burning is an important forest management tool to reduce wildfire risk. Prescribed fire patterns mimic natural fire disturbances and reduce underbrush and flammable vegetation, which is key to limiting wildfire growth.

More information will be released on specific burn units and timing on the day before each burn. During the burns, some roads and trails may be closed to ensure safety. For more information, contact the Grandfather Ranger District office at 828-652-2144.

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