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Visitors to Daniel Boone National Forest encouraged to check prescribed burn schedule during March

The Daniel Boone National Forest is planning to begin prescribed burning of locations across the forest in March.

Prescribed burns — the controlled application of fire to the landscape — are a vital land management treatment used to reduce forest fuels, improve wildlife habitat, restore characteristics of a fire-adapted ecosystem and better protect communities.

Depending on weather conditions, fire managers plan to burn between 15,000 and 27,000 acres on the Forest this year. Officials hope a newly-launched Southern Region Prescribed Burn Accomplishment Tracker will help the public better understand and prepare for these burns.

(Photo from USDA)

“Prescribed fire is a vital land management tool for both the Daniel Boone National Forest and other Kentucky land managers,” said Daniel Boone National Forest Fire Management Officer Andy Pascarella. “Each prescribed burn is carefully planned to remove the accumulated smaller forest litter and brush that could serve as easy fuel for a wildfire and recycle those nutrients back into the soil to promote healthy vegetation and wildlife habitat. This process is essential for certain native species, like white oak, which depend on fire to clear competing species from the area and to enrich the soil.”

All prescribed burns are thoroughly planned and analyzed by a team of specialists to ensure that wildlife, fisheries, rare plants and historic sites are not harmed. Experienced fire managers will closely monitor local weather conditions, such as wind and humidity, and adjust the schedule as needed to ensure the safety of both crewmembers and local residents. Prior to the planned ignition of a burn, crews construct and designate firebreaks to ensure the fire does not leave the burn area.

“We have very strict requirements for prescribed burns,” said Pascarella. “We wait for the perfect combination of wind and relative humidity to make sure that we can burn safely. Our fire management team is committed to safe prescribed burns that put the right amount of fire in the right places at the right time.”

The public is encouraged to keep track of planned and active prescribed burns on the Forest by visiting the Southern Region Prescribed Burn Accomplishment Tracker. The interactive map shows the units the Forest plans to burn in 2023 and lists the purpose of the burn, acreage and the burn’s current status. Alerts on current prescribed burn areas will also be shared on the Daniel Boone National Forest’s Facebook and Twitter accounts @DanielBooneNF.

“We hope that the burn tracker will help the public feel more confident when planning their trip to the Forest,” said Pascarella. “With the tracker, folks can better anticipate potential closures or traffic impacts from upcoming burns as well as scout excellent spots for post-burn activities like mushroom collecting or hunting. Prescribed fire is a powerful land management tool and we are excited to share more about its positive effects with the public.”

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service

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