Prescribed Burns to be Conducted on Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges in North Carolina
Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges are preparing to begin winter prescribed burning season in an effort to reduce the build up of fuels and improve wildlife habitat on both refuges in Manteo, North Carolina .
If ideal weather conditions occur, as many as 37,000 acres on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and approximately 1,900 acres on Pea Island are proposed for burning this season between November and April.
The proposed burn units at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge include a mix of marsh, pocosin, and field burns. An approved burn plan is required for each burn unit. This plan outlines burn objectives, weather and environmental requirements, a smoke management plan, and a list of resources necessary to successfully conduct the burn.
The grasslands and marshes found at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge also experience a build-up of plants that can shade out new plants and increase the intensity of wildfires. Winter or dormant season burning allows for the reduction of hazardous fuels from both refuges. The term “hazardous fuels” refers not only to the build-up of dead plant matter, like pine needles and fallen tree limbs, but also to volatile live fuels like gallberry and fetterbush - shrubs that contain chemicals in their leaves that make them burn intensely. Prescribed burns remove the surface growth of live shrubs which often sprout back from their roots, providing fresh and nutritious browse for wildlife. Removing fuel build-up from the soil surface also makes room for new seedlings to grow in the spring.
Areas scheduled for burning on both refuges remain open to the public for authorized public uses. Closure will occur only during the actual prescribed burn, which could be any time between now and April, as weather permits. Please call ahead (252-473-1131) if you plan to hunt any of these areas. When in the field on either refuge, be aware of the potential for a prescribed fire. To ask questions or provide comments about prescribed burning on Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 252-473-1131.
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