Spring Burning Slows Wildfire
On July 29, gusty winds pushed a wildfire started by an escaped debris burn towards the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge. Firefighters had burned refuge lands adjacent to the private property earlier in the spring. Prescribed fire is used as a tool to reduce the risk of wildfire to neighboring communities and to maintain healthy habitat for wildlife. When the wildfire burned onto refuge lands, due to the reduced fuels, the wildfire went out on its own.
When firefighters first arrived on the scene, the fire was threatening a nearby home. Soon after, however, the situation changed significantly. “With the wind and the fuels that are typical to the area, the fire had the potential to be much larger,” said Mark Parker, Refuge Fire Management Officer. The fire was held at the refuge boundary to 6 acres on private lands and less than 0.10 acre on refuge lands.
In March, refuge firefighters prescribed burned the adjacent 175 acres of longleaf pine. The refuge burns approximately 12,000 acres annually as part of their fire management program. The South Carolina refuge offers one of the southeast’s premiere longleaf pine ecosystems and is home to more than 140 groups of the endangered red cockaded woodpecker.
A wildfire burning along the border of the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge runs out of fuel when it bumps the edge of an area where a prescribed burn was conducted a few months ago in South Carolina. Mark Parker, USFWS
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