Prescribed Fires Planned At Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Contact: Eric Leonard, 580 622-7282
National Park Service fire managers hope to implement prescribed fires within the recreation area during a period beginning January 15, and extending through April 1, 2010. The date of the burning will depend on weather conditions but is hoped to be the last week of January. The areas targeted are the Southern boundary in the area north of the Arbuckle Dam extending to the Guy Sandy Boat ramp. The burns are a part of the National Park Service’s prescribed fire program at Chickasaw National Recreation Area, to help protect local communities from the catastrophic effects of uncontrolled wildland fires while promoting the natural ecosystem’s ability to thrive.
Fires will be ignited when environmental factors such as temperature, wind direction, relative humidity, and fuel moisture levels are within a very specific range. Fire is an essential part of many healthy ecosystems. Prescribed fires improve forest health by promoting nutrient recycling, increasing habitat diversity, and reducing fuels that lead to unwanted, out-of-control wildfires. Numerous plant and animal species have evolved with fire and depend upon it to create the conditions they need to flourish.
Smoke from these prescribed fires may be visible in downtown Sulphur, Davis, Rock Creek, Veterans Lake, Buckhorn areas, Goddard Road, and along Chickasaw Trail but every effort will be made to minimize smoke production. Wind direction and upper level mixing of smoke will be utilized to eliminate or reduce these inconveniences. If you have health problems that will be aggravated by smoke, we strongly encourage you to contact us at 580 622-3161.
Qualified personnel will monitor the fires throughout the burn period. During burn periods, property owners will be notified about work in their area, and will be advised of any special procedures that would minimize the effects of smoke such as turning off central heat and/or air conditioning units.
The scientific use of fire is a management tool that benefits animals, plants and people. Well-planned and executed fires promote the healthy growth of native plants, which support the variety and abundance of birds and animals found in these natural areas. Residents near these burn areas also benefit because the fuel from dead plant material that has accumulated over the years is reduced under controlled conditions. This significantly reduces the threat a wildfire would pose to people and property in and near the park.