usfs prescribed burns.
It's Medicine That Keeps a Forest Healthy
What is a prescribed burn?
A prescribed burn is a controlled fire ignited by professionally trained and
experienced personnel. These burns are carefully planned and executed to
reduce forest fuels and improve plant and animal habitats.
What happens during a prescribed burn?
After all the control lines that hold the fire in place have been built and everything has
been checked to make sure we can contain the fire, we wait until all the weather
conditions are right.
The temperatures have to be right. The wind has to be from the right direction and not
too fast. The humidity can't be too high or low. Everything has to be just right or we don't
burn. Once we ignite the fire we continue to monitor the fire and weather to ensure that
the fire does what we want and stays within the control lines.
How does a prescribed burn produce a healthy forest?
Many forest ecosystems in the South depend on fire to maintain a healthy balance of
vegetation and wildlife habitat conditions. Low-intensity prescribed burns help maintain an
open forest floor by reducing some of the brush and mid-story trees that block sunlight
from reaching the ground.
By increasing sunlight to the forest floor, often more grass, fruits and seeds become
available for deer, dove, quail and other wildlife species. Also, by modifying stand
conditions, prescribed burns can increase vegetation edge effects that many species
depend upon when seeking travel routes, feeding spots or finding hiding shelter.
This also helps improve access for hunters and hikers. In addition, it reduces the amount
of fuel that would be available if a wildland fire should occur. This is very important for
the safety of the people who live in and around our forests.
How is smoke managed during a prescribed burn?
Any time there is a fire there is going to be smoke. When planning our prescribed burns,
we try to select our days when the weather conditions will allow the smoke to be carried
up and away from sensitive areas such as cities, hospitals, highways, churches or other
areas where we know the smoke could cause problems.
Despite all planning, sometimes the weather doesn't do what we expect and the smoke
goes where we would rather it not go. For this reason we try to do most of our burning
early in the day to allow most of the smoke to disappear before nightfall. On the day of
the burn we try to let the people that live nearby know that they may be affected by the
If you are in an area of heavy smoke, we suggest you use low-beam headlights when driving
or remain indoors if you have respiratory problems.
^ climb up.
pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail
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