• Little Niagra

    Chickasaw

    National Recreation Area Oklahoma

Prescribed Fires Update

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Date: February 25, 2011
Contact: Lauren Gurniewicz, 580-622-7282

Chickasaw National Recreation Area began a series of prescribed fires on February 18th to reduce eastern red cedar in the park. If conditions are favorable, fire managers may continue burning through April 1st. The burns will occur near the Point, Travertine Nature Center,  Five Lakes, and Upper Guy Sandy areas of the park.

Smoke from the prescribed fires may be visible in the towns of Sulphur, Davis, Dougherty, Rock Creek, and in the areas near Veterans Lake, Buckhorn, Goddard Youth Camp Road, and along Chickasaw Trail. Every effort is made to minimize smoke impacts. Each evening fire managers review forecasts for predicted wind direction and upper level mixing of smoke when determining which unit(s) to burn the following day. The project area is broken up in to small block or units which enable fire managers to stop or slow or increase the pace of ignitions based upon daily weather conditions. All firing will be done using hand ignition methods in order to control the amount of fire on the ground at any one time.

Local residents and visitors in the area who are sensitive to smoke or have pre-existing respiratory problems should limit their outdoor activities and keep windows closed during the burn. If you would like to receive daily updates on which burn unit will be ignited and predicted direction of smoke impacts, please call 580-622-3165 and provide your contact information (phone, fax, or e-mail). If you have health problems that will be aggravated by smoke, we strongly encourage you to call the park for further assistance at 580 622-7220.

Intermittent delays along roadways in the vicinity of the burns may be possible. Please slow down, turn your headlights on, and watch for firefighters working along the road. For your safety, please do not stop along the road in the vicinity of the burn.

Approximately 3,000 acres of slash from thinned eastern red cedar cut during the summer and fall of 2010 may be burned. Native to Oklahoma, eastern red cedar is extremely invasive. These burns will be the final phase of a multi-month, $1.4-million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project. Thinning of eastern red cedar will increase public safety by reducing the hazardous fuel load in the wildland-urban interface and move the ecosystem closer to a natural state.

Resources assigned to the burn include 38 firefighters, 7 engines, and 1 dozer. Cooperators include Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (TX), Bryce Canyon National Park (UT), Buffalo National River (AR), Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX), Mesa Verde National Park (CO), Saguaro National Park (AZ), Sulphur Fire Department, Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge (OK), and Zion National Park(UT).

Additional fire information including updates, maps, and photos are available online at www.inciweb.org. For additional information, please call 580-662-3165.

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