Elkins, W.Va., April 30, 2019 – Fire personnel completed prescribed burns totaling 2,248 acres on Monongahela National Forest this spring. The burns were carried out with assistance from Harpers Ferry Job Corps students and Forest Service employees. Several national forests assisted including Huron Manistee National Forest, Hiawatha National Forest, Six Rivers National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, and Midewin Tall Grass Prairie.
The prescribed burn areas are located in Pendleton (Big Mountain), Pocahontas (Brushy Mountain Grouse Management Area), and Greenbrier (Ramshorn) counties. Benefits of these burns include enhanced early successional habitat for a variety of species, such as ruffed grouse, and improved oak/pine stands.
“We wrapped up spring burning by mid-April this year, and are working now to plan additional prescribed burns for the fall,” said John Fry, Assistant Fire Management Officer for Monongahela National Forest. “It’s our goal to mimic fire’s historic role in the ecosystem, and that includes regular burning in select locations.”
Fire managers are planning fall prescribed burns at Middle Mountain, south of Minnehaha Springs in Pocahontas County, and Cheat Summit Fort, east of Huttonsville in Randolph County. This year the Forest Service is also burning brush piles to enhance grazing allotments and wildlife habitat. Pile-burning may take place at any time of the year in Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Randolph, and Pendleton counties, when conditions permit.
Prescribed fires are conducted under specific weather conditions and designed to accomplish pre-determined forest management goals. Monongahela National Forest follows strict guidelines for conducting prescribed burns, and takes into consideration environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and smoke management.