Controlled burns planned for Okefenokee Refuge - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Controlled burns planned for Okefenokee Refuge

Michael Lusk, Refuge Manager, spends a day in the field with the fire crew. (T. Jenkins/USFWS) Michael Lusk, Refuge Manager, spends a day in the field with the fire crew. (T. Jenkins/USFWS)
FOLKSTON, GA (WALB) - The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge near Folkston will be the scene of numerous prescribed burns during the next several months. 

Prescribed burns, such as the ones conducted at Okefenokee, are used to restore longleaf pine habitat, control underbrush, and increase plant and animal diversity.

The weather conditions, including wind speed and direction, humidity, fuel moisture, and other factors described in the plan must be within a specified range. Negative smoke impacts are a primary concern, and plans call for specific winds to minimize public impact on roads and communities. 

Prescribed burns are conducted on days when weather and ground conditions offer the best opportunities to meet management objectives. Due to difficulties in predicting the exact days the burns will be conducted, refuge officials may not be able to give advance notice to the public.

 Landowners adjacent to the burn areas, as well as state and local fire departments, are notified by refuge personnel prior to any prescribed burns and are timed so they minimize impacts on wildlife and people.

The prescribed fire treatments aid in the restoration of longleaf pine, promote desired maintenance of vegetation in Red-cockaded woodpecker colonies, and increase the diversity of native plants and wildlife. Other benefits include protection of communities and adjacent lands by reducing fuels and the potential threat of wildfire.

On the days when a prescribed burn will occur, portions of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge may be closed to the public. 

Please adhere to all signs, road closures, and instructions about closed areas provided by refuge and fire personnel. Questions, call the refuge office at 912-496-7366. 

To learn more about prescribed fire, visit: http://www.goodfires.org/



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