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

Last Updated on February 5, 2022 7:19 pm

Nebo, NC, February 4, 2022 – The U.S. Forest Service is planning five prescribed burns on the Grandfather Ranger District this Spring season to reduce the risk of wildfires by reducing accumulation of fuels on the forest floor. The low- to medium-intensity burns also create healthier, more diverse, and more resilient forests that can better support wildlife.  Two of these burns, Armstrong and Crawley Branch, will be used to remove woody debris and competing vegetation in preparation for tree planting. 

CountyClosest CommunityBurn UnitSize (acres)
McDowellLittle SwitzerlandArmstrong 58
McDowellBusickSingecat 2200
McDowellOld FortBig Lost Bear 4725
CaldwellCollettsvilleCrawley Branch 677
CaldwellBlowing RockBoyd Gap 200

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.

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