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National Fire Plan Success Story

Prescribed Burns in North Carolina Reduce Risk
National Fire Plan - Fuels Reduction

To reduce the threat of wildfire to private property, limit smoke impacts to local communities from wildfires and to protect the health of ecosystems in eastern North Carolina, firefighters from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted 22 prescribed burns in January to March 2009 at six national wildlife refuges here.

Last year, North Carolina’s Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge faced the largest wildfire in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Evans Road Fire burned more than 41,000 acres and emitted large amounts of smoke over several months. In contrast, the prescribed burns, totaling 14,393 acres, were designed to be lit to meet a certain set of objectives for the area.

During a typical year, the prescribed burning season for the area begins in the fall and runs through mid-spring. However, dry weather conditions last fall were not conducive to burning, so efforts were put on hold until more favorable weather patterns settled into the area in January.

Since then, firefighters have taken advantage of key weather conditions to safely meet burn objectives and to limit the smoke affecting local communities. Before lighting any burns, refuge personnel coordinate with the National Weather Service to closely monitor predicted weather. The refuges planed to conduct a few more small prescribed burns in the early spring before losing the opportunity for the season.

Last modified: Monday, 10-Apr-2017 12:49:03 CDT