• Gettysburg National Military Park


    National Military Park Pennsylvania

Gettysburg Prescribed Fire Planned for October 30

Prescribed burn plan 10-30-13
Prescribed burn area of the historic Snyder Farm
(National Park Service)

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News Release Date: October 25, 2013
Contact: Katie Lawhon, (717) 334-1124, ext. 3121

Final preparations are underway for the prescribed fire at Gettysburg National Military Park that will take placeWednesday, October 30, weather permitting. National Park Service (NPS) fire specialists will burn 13 acres on the Snyder farm, in the southern portion of the Gettysburg battlefield, east of Emmitsburg Road. The goal of the prescribed burn is to test the use of prescribed fire in reducing the encroachment of woody species in open fields of the Gettysburg battlefield landscape, an important goal of the park's General Management Plan. 

The date of the prescribed fire is dependent on conditions being within required weather parameters such as wind, temperature, and relative humidity; an alternative day may have to be selected. The prescribed fire will be conducted from approximately noon through the afternoon, followed by patrol and monitoring to ensure the fire is completely out.  

The perimeter of the prescribed fire will be mowed prior to ignition. The mowed area will be wetted with water. Additionally there will be a sprinkler line in place along the perimeter to thoroughly wet down the control lines before the fire. NPS staff will monitor air quality and smoke impacts as well as visibility on nearby roads.

The overall objectives are to maintain the conditions of the battlefield as experienced by the soldiers who fought here, perpetuate the open space character of the landscape, maintain wildlife habitat, control invasive exotic species and reduce shrub and woody species components.  If successful, prescribed fire would reduce herbicide use and impacts in the park.

The prescribed fire is also a test to allow the park the opportunity to evaluate if fire is a viable management tool for meeting resource objectives. Factors to consider it a success depend on ease of implementation, effectiveness towards meeting resource objectives, degree of impact on visitation, and cost effectiveness. 

The project is funded by the National Park Service Wildland Fire Management Program. Personnel from the PA Bureau of Forestry and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service are planning to assist in the prescribed fire implementation.

The Slyder farm lane will be temporarily closed for this fire as well as the horse/hiking trail along the Slyder Lane, and next to the Slyder farm. Drivers along Emmitsburg Road and the Devil's Den and Wheatfield areas of the park should use extra caution if smoke is present. A map of the project area can be viewed on the park website,www.nps.gov/gett.

Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American history. 


Did You Know?

John Burns after the battle (Library of Congress)

John Burns, a 69 year-old veteran of the War of 1812 and resident of Gettysburg, fought side by side with Union soldiers on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg. His service is commemorated by a battlefield statue at Gettysburg National Military Park.