Home Prescribed burns planned in George Washington, Jefferson national forests this spring

Prescribed burns planned in George Washington, Jefferson national forests this spring

Crystal Graham
prescribed burn fire forest
(© Chris Brignell – stock.adobe.com)

This spring, firefighters across the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Roanoke plan to conduct prescribed burning to reduce hazardous fuels, restore wildlife habitat and improve overall forest health.

Fire managers plan to burn up to 32,310 acres across the forest.

Some of these prescribed burns are conducted through partnerships with the Virginia Department of Forestry, Nature Conservancy and others.

Each prescribed burn is designed to accomplish specific objectives related to increasing forest health.

Prescribed burns will be conducted only under appropriate conditions to ensure safety. Appropriate conditions include correct temperature, wind, fuel moisture and ventilation for smoke. When these criteria are met, firefighters implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets forest health and public safety goals, including air quality.

“Historically, fire has played a vital role in shaping the forest and its ecosystems. Today, forest managers utilize prescribed burns to imitate the periodic fire that many plants and animals rely on,” said forest supervisor Joby Timm.

Prescribed fire is utilized to better protect communities by removing the amount of downed fuel and reducing the potential of large, high-intensity wildfires.

Prescribed burns yield multiple forest health benefits including:

  • They help remove competing vegetation, which allows remaining trees to grow faster and be more resistant to pests and disease.
  • Prescribed burns create areas where a diverse mix of grasses, plants, and wildflowers grow which provides valuable food and cover for wildlife such as bears, deer, turkeys and migratory birds.

More information will be released as burns are scheduled across the forest. For more information, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/gwj

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.