Prescribed burning projects proposed in the Nantahala

A proposal to reauthorize prescribed burning on 19,038 acres in Jackson, Macon and Swain counties is open for public comment through Jan. 19, 2018.

All of the areas, located in 33 burning compartments within the Nantahala Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest, have been burned before. Future treatments would be conducted during the dormant season, generally between Oct. 15 and April 15, with the reauthorization in effect for two burning cycles or up to ten years. The treatments would be subject to a new environmental review in 2024.

In most cases, U.S. Forest Service roads, water bodies and topographic features would be used to contain the fire. In the absence of these features, fire lines would be established using hand tools or heavy equipment such as bulldozers. Following the burns, the lines would be treated to prevent erosion.

Due to aggressive wildfire suppression over the past 50 to 100 years, these fire-adapted ecosystems have not burned as frequently as they naturally would and are departing from their natural species composition and condition. The project aims to support the fire-adapted ecosystems in terms of species, condition and function.

Send comments by Jan. 19, 2018, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; fax to 828.369.6592 or mail to USDA Forest Service, 90 Sloan Road, Franklin, N.C. 28734.

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