Weather permitting, officials at the Monongahela National Forest plan to conduct prescribed burns on 1,251 acres in Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Pendleton counties from March through June.
According to Kelly Bridges, a spokesperson for the forest service, the treatments aim to re-establish fire’s natural role in the forest ecosystem, improve forest health and wildlife habitat, and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires.
Project areas planned for prescribed burns this spring include:
- Big Mountain Unit 9 & 10– 55 acres (Pendleton County)
- Chestnut Ridge North/South Savanna Units 1 & 2 – 212 acres (Pocahontas County)
- Hopkins Units A, B & C – 844 acres (Greenbrier County)
- Brushy Mountain Units B2, B4 & B6 – 140 acres (Greenbrier County)
Each burn area will be closed to the public on the day of the burn and may be closed for several days to ensure public safety. She said signs will be posted on roads near all prescribed burn areas before and during burning.
Residents and forest visitors may see and smell smoke for several days. If you encounter smoke on the highway, slow down, turn on your vehicle’s lights and drive appropriately for the conditions.
Prescribed burns are conducted under specific weather conditions and are designed to accomplish pre-determined forest management goals.
Staff at the Monongahela National Forest follow strict guidelines for conducting prescribed burns, considering environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, smoke dispersion, and wind. The burn will be postponed if any ecological conditions are not within limits.
Local radio stations will be alerted to burn activities ahead of time. Information, photos, and maps will be available when burning begins at inciweb.nwcg.gov.