Fall Prescribed Burning Season Begins in North Carolina
Fire managers for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges in North Carolina will soon initiate their annual fall prescribed burning program to manage and enhance wildlife habitat while reducing unnatural accumulations of vegetation which can readily burn during unplanned fires. Typically, the prescribed fire season begins in the fall and runs through mid-spring. But, sometimes units may be burned outside this time period to accomplish particular objectives.
Refuge Fire Management Officer Tom Crews said, “Burning under controlled conditions allows us to better manage smoke and fire intensity. Our goals are to improve wildlife habitat and reduce danger from wildfires. Some people don't realize that plants and wildlife are actually helped by fire. But if we just wait for a lightning strike, we can't choose the conditions or location. That situation often puts both people and habitat at risk.”
Prescribed fires are planned to be lit on designated areas across both refuges. Impacts to the visiting public are expected to be minimal; however, concerned individuals may contact the Refuge Office on any given day to ask about burning plans for that day. Hunters should be especially attentive if an area they plan to hunt is scheduled for burning this year. Motorists are advised to drive carefully, especially if they see smoke, and reduce speed, be patient, and watch for fire equipment or firefighters along roads. Questions or comments on the prescribed burns at Alligator River or Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges may be directed to Kelley Van Druten at 252-473-1131 extension 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
One month after a controlled burn at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, white ibis look for insects in a burned area. USFWS
Firefighters at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge use a terra-torch to shoot flames across a canal to ignite a burn unit. Robert Mickler, USFWS
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