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Wednesday, 05 November 2014 15:02

Fall burns planned for forest, national park

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out prescribeburnPrescribed burns are planned in the Nantahala Ranger District of Nantahala National Forest and areas of Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the next few weeks. 


These understory fires are used as a management tool to reduce woody debris on the forest floor, reducing the risk of wildfire, and to promote the growth of leafy plants, which benefits wildlife, though some say the method is over-used. Fall is a preferred time to conduct prescribed burns because snow hasn’t yet fallen to wet the ground, but it is less likely to ignite out of control, as can happen in the summer. 

• Nantahala Ranger District

Four sites in southern Jackson County will undergo prescribed burns this fall. In the Moses Creek area, this will include 684 acres at Coward Bald and 158 acres at Moses Creek. In Panthertown, the Big Green burn unit will include 497 acres. And in the Bonas Defeat area, 240 acres will be burned at Awl Knob. 

Fire Management Officer Greg Brooks, 828.524.6441

• Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Fire is used as a management tool in a far more limited basis in the national parks, compared to the national forest. However, prescribed fires have been conducted already this fall in the Cataloochee fields and will continue intermittently through the rest of the month. The area will remain open to visitors, though some trails could be closed temporarily. Burns will also be held in the Cades Cove area during a similar window.

All burn schedules are weather-dependent. 

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