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Forest Service plans prescribed burns in Transylvania this spring

The U.S. Forest Service is planning two prescribed burns in the Pisgah Ranger District this spring season to reduce the risk of wildfires and increase wildlife habitat diversity.

Both burns are located in Transylvania County and include the 1,000-acre Funnel Top unit and the 2,500-acre Otter Hole unit. The dates for the burns will depend upon weather conditions.

Burning days are changeable because the proper conditions are needed; wind and relative humidity are key factors in fire behavior, safety, and smoke control. Prescribed burning will only occur when environmental conditions permit. During the burns, proper personnel and equipment will be on site and some roads and trails may be closed to ensure safety.

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. Habitat for a variety of wildlife can be improved through carefully planned and executed prescribed burns. Regular burns promote the growth of plants that provide food for wildlife including important game animals such as deer and turkey.

Prescribed burning is an important and versatile forest management tool that can mimic natural fire disturbances and reduce underbrush and flammable vegetation, which is key to limiting wildfire growth.