Monongahela National Forest Plans Prescribed Fires this Spring
According to a press release from the USDA Forest Service dated March 6, 2018, Monongahela National Forest fire managers plan to conduct prescribed fires on approximately 5,000 acres of Forest Service land in six locations between mid-March and late-May in Pendleton, Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties.
A prescribed fire is ignited by highly-trained fire personnel under very specific fuel and weather conditions. Prescribed fires are used primarily to help reduce the threat of wildfires and to improve the health of native plants and wildlife habitat in the Forest.
These prescribed fires will help to restore fire’s historic ecological role in oak and pine forests, and will favor native vegetation and enhance wildlife habitat for deer, turkey, grouse and bear.
The six areas planned for prescribed fires this spring include:
- Big Mountain – west and southwest of Cherry Grove in Pendleton County
- Ramshorn – Pocahontas County east of Green Bank
- Hopkins – north of Blue Bend Recreation Area in Greenbrier County
- Lockridge – Pocahontas County east of Minnehaha Springs
- Rucker Gap – east of Neola in Greenbrier County
- Shock Run – southeast of Dunmore in Pocahontas County
Fire managers are preparing these areas now so that prescribed fires may be conducted when conditions are right. Preparation activities include creating breaks in the vegetation, called fire lines, around the area to be burned in order to contain the fire. Fire lines can be created mechanically, with heavy equipment, or with fire itself, a process called blacklining.
Each prescribed burn will be conducted when weather conditions are favorable to maximize the benefits to the forest and minimize smoke impacts to local communities. Area residents and travelers through the area may see or smell smoke from these prescribed fires. If you encounter smoke on the highway, slow down, turn on your vehicle’s lights and drive appropriately for the conditions.
Local radio stations will be alerted to burn activities ahead of time. Signs will be posted on roads near all prescribed burn areas before and when burning is in progress.
Once preparations begin, information, maps and the latest updates will be available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.