Richmond National Battlefield Park to conduct prescribed burn at Malvern Hill battlefield
Contact: Kristen Allen, 804-795-5019
Contact: Beth Stern, 804-226-5023
Update (3/29/2012): Due to changing conditions, the controlled burn at Malvern Hill was rescheduled for Friday, March 30, subject to favorable weather and other factors.
RICHMOND, Va. - The National Park Service has scheduled a prescribed burn for Tuesday, March 27, at the Malvern Hill unit of Richmond National Battlefield Park. The burn will take place on approximately 60 acres of park property at Malvern Hill in Henrico County. The burn is subject to favorable weather conditions and other factors.
Objective is a healthy, well-maintained historic landscape
The park burns these areas every two to three years in order to maintain the landscape as it appeared when the opposing armies fought here during the summer of 1862. The burn this year will be completed in time for the park's sesquicentennial commemoration of the 1862 Seven Days Battles.
The specific objective of the burn at Malvern Hill is to maintain the historic 1862 scene as a meadow and to reduce woody and non-native species density. The burn also reduces maintenance costs.
Safety is Primary Factor
In order to ensure that the burn remains under the control of firefighters, it will be carried out only if certain conditions are met. Safely conducting a prescribed burn is based on frequent monitoring of weather conditions. Various factors such as wind direction, wind speed, smoke dispersion, and fuel moisture must be within a strict, pre-determined range. If any of these environmental parameters are not met, the burn will not proceed; if the conditions start favorably and change, the burn will be stopped.
Under this prescription, the fire will move slowly through the area and stop at established burn breaks. Smoke will disperse quickly from the area, although neighbors may smell smoke during and shortly after the burn period.
The areas to be burned are surrounded by a wide gravel road, wetland and areas of short-mowed grass. The park will have no fewer than 12 certified wildland fire fighters on hand to ensure that the fire is conducted safely and without incident. It is expected to last no longer than eight hours. To ensure visitor safety, the park trail and parsonage parking lot at Malvern Hill will be closed during the burn. Following the fire, the burned areas will temporarily be black. However, in just a few weeks, they will be green with vegetation.
About Richmond National Battlefield Park
Malvern Hill is one of 13 sites protected by Richmond National Battlefield Park where key Civil War battles took place in 1862 and 1864. The park also hosts five visitor centers and a driving tour of the battlefields along an 80-mile route through Hanover, Henrico, and Chesterfield counties. A full day is required to experience the entire battlefield park. The main park visitor center is located at Historic Tredegar (470 Tredegar Street in Richmond) and provides museum exhibits, audio-visual programs, and orientation services to help plan a visit to the battlefields. For additional information, contact Richmond National Battlefield Park at 804-226-1981, or via the internet at www.nps.gov/rich or www.Facebook.com/RichmondNPS.