Controlled Burn Planned at Silver Run Preserve
Thu, Feb 25 2010 at 12:44 PM
By The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy plans to conduct a controlled burn at its Silver Run Preserve in late March. The burn is designed to reduce shrubs and some midstory trees that are preventing oak seedling growth. It will also remove fuel that could contribute to damaging wildfires.
"Deer, turkey, bear, and other animals that live on and around the preserve need acorns to get them through the winter," says David Ray, Conservancy Mountains Project Director. "Although we have some big oaks on the preserve, the oak forest isn't regenerating. This burn will remove the undesirable trees and shrubs, helping young oak trees thrive and take their place in the forest. It will also protect the nearby community by removing a potential source of wildfire."
Although several public agencies conduct controlled burns across the Southern Blue Ridge, this is the Nature Conservancy's first large controlled burn in the North Carolina mountains. It will burn about 400 acres of the preserve and 175 acres in the adjoining Nantahala National Forest.
"We only conduct controlled burns after careful planning," says Margit Bucher, who directs the Conservancy's fire program. "Everything has to be right before we ignite. These are low-intensity burns, designed to take out the lower growing shrubs and trees without harming the oaks and other large trees. In addition to oak regeneration, there should be a whole host of flowers and herbs that will appear after the burn."
Preparing for the burn involves creating fire lines to contain the burn. The Conservancy consulted with North Carolina Natural Heritage Program staff in determining the locations of the lines. Nearly all of the fire lines will follow existing roads to minimize ground disturbance.
The 1400-acre preserve is located in Jackson and Transylvania counties and is surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest on three sides. The burn is being conducted in partnership with District 9 of the NC Division of Forest Resources and the U.S. Forest Service, and will be confined to Jackson County.
The Conservancy will hold a community meeting to discuss the burn on March 17 at 5:30 in the Cashiers-Glenville Fire Department. People with questions or concerns can call the Conservancy at 828-350-1431.
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