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Contact: Katie Lawhon, (717) 334-1124, ext. 3121
Due to the weather forecast and moisture in the grass in the project area, the National Park Service has announced that it has postponed the prescribed fire at Gettysburg National Military Park (GETT) originally scheduled for place Tuesday, October 7.
The project area is 30 acres northwest of the intersection of United States Avenue and Hancock Avenue, not far from the Pennsylvania Memorial.
"Moisture levels in the grasses and other fuels in the project area are too high to meet the objectives of the prescribed fire," said Rick Kendall, interim superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. "A new date will be announced later, possibly next week."
The date of the prescribed fire is dependent on conditions being within required weather parameters such as wind, temperature, and relative humidity.
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 perimeter of the prescribed fire will be mowed prior to ignition. The mowed area will be wetted with 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. NPS staff will monitor air quality 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.nps.gov/gett.
In October 2013, the National Park Service conducted the first prescribed fire ever at Gettysburg NMP, 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.
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.nps.gov/gett.