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Contact: Katie Lawhon, (717) 334-1124
Final preparations are underway for the prescribed fire at Gettysburg National Military Park (GETT) that will take place Thursday, October 30, weather permitting. National Park Service (NPS) fire specialists will burn 30 acres northwest of the intersection of United States Avenue and Hancock Avenue, not far from the Pennsylvania Memorial.
The west side of the project area is a large field that was owned by Conrad and HenryNeinstedtand produced wheat in 1863. The east side was George Wiekert's pasture in 1863. During the battle of Gettysburg,hundreds of soldiers, as well as many horses and artillery pieces, trampled these agricultural lands.
Based on the GETT and Eisenhower National Historic Site Fire Management Plan/Environmental Assessment published in July 2014, the park is continuing its use of prescribed fire as a viable management technique to help maintain historically open fields of the Gettysburg battlefield landscapes, 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 park will issue a follow-up news release if an alternate date is selected.
The perimeter of the prescribed fire will be mowed prior to ignition. The mowed area will bewettedwith water. Additionally there may be a sprinkler line in place along the perimeter to thoroughly wet down the control lines as needed before the fire. staff will monitor airquality and smoke impacts as well as visibility on nearby roads. Short-term closures of Hancock Avenue or United States Avenue may be necessary to ensure visitor and firefighter safety.
A map of the project area and the Fire Management Plan/Environmental Assessment can be viewed on the park website,www..gov/gett.Read details, questions and answers about Gettysburg National Military Park's upcoming prescribed fire at: http://npsgnmp.wordpress.com/
In October 2013, the National Park Service conducted the first prescribed fire ever at GettysburgNMP, burning 13 acres of fields on the historic Snyder farm, in the southern portion of the battlefield. Use of prescribed fires reduces herbicide use and impacts in the park.
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. By choosing a time just before shrub and woody species move into winter dormancy, the effects of the fire reduces the plants' energy reserves and diminishes vigor and growth potential for the following spring.
The project is funded by the National Park ServiceWildlandFire Management Program. Personnel from the PA Bureau of Forestry are planning to assist in the prescribed fire implementation.
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. Information is available at www.gov/gett.