OHIO VALLEY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Services’s Wayne National Forest Ironton Ranger District is planning to conduct prescribed burning operations within the next few weeks in parts of Lawrence County as well as Gallia County.
Approximately 1660 acres collectively are planned to be burned depending on weather conditions. The ranger district believes conditions will be favorable for the prescribed areas between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. Areas being targeted in Lawrence County are in Decatur, Symmes and Washington Townships along Forest Service Road 127 and Township Road 152 as well as in Gallia County, Greenfield Township along Hoadley Road.
According to the forest service, historically, Native Americans used repeated burning on the landscape to create open oak-hickory forests which were beneficial for wildlife they hunted and foods they gathered. The Wayne National Forest seeks to keep oak-hickory forests from losing dominance on the landscape in southeast Ohio. This forest type is fire dependent, meaning occasional prescribed burning actually helps them outcompete other species of trees like shade loving maple and beech. Through the use of prescribed burning, the forest service is creating conditions that allow young oak and hickory trees to thrive. A forest with oak and hickory trees provide critical habitat to various wildlife species.
Significant preparations are undertaken prior to the Wayne National Forest conducting prescribed burns, including physical visits to neighboring communities and homes to provide awareness of the project and explain what residents might expect. Fire lines have been constructed in order to provide the highest degree of safety. Burn units are surrounded by existing roads, trails and constructed fire breaks that aid in the control of the burn.
The Wayne National Forest follows strict guidelines for conducting prescribed burns, and uses environmental factors including temperature, humidity, atmosphere stability, wind-direction and speed as well as smoke disbursement. If any of these conditions are not within limits, the burns will be postponed.
Fore more information, visit www.gs.usda.gov/wayne or follow the Wayne National Forest on social media at @waynenationalfs and Facebook.
The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The organization has a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The forest service’s Eastern Region includes twenty states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota. There are 17 national forests and one national tall grass prairie in the Eastern Region.