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Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192
Contact: Darlene Owens, 270-758-2428
(MAMMOTH CAVE, Kentucky) Mammoth Cave National Park staff are preparing now for two prescribed fires this spring.
Since 2002, the Park has conducted twenty-two prescribed fires. This year's two targeted areas have been previously burned - the Crystal Cave unit along Flint Ridge and the Chaumont unit in the southeast corner of the Park.
Fire on the landscape will help promote certain plant species while helping control some invasive plant species. Wildlife habitat also benefits from prescribed fire. Personal property adjacent to the park boundary will benefit as the parklands are cleared of dead, downed trees that could fuel a larger forest fire.
"A lot of planning and preparation goes into these prescribed fires," said Park Superintendent Patrick Reed. "Fire professionals from other parks travel to Mammoth Cave to assist in this effort. We will receive assistance this year from Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, Natchez Trace Parkway, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park."
Weather conditions for the prescribed fires and the resulting smoke will be monitored by park staff. Smoke will be highly visible to the public during these operations and smoldering may continue for several days after the burns.
To keep the public well informed, the Park will issue specific notices about temporary closures that may be required when the prescribed fires are conducted.
Crystal Cave Unit
The Crystal Cave Unit, located north of Flint Ridge Road and south of Green River is 2,321 acres, bounded on the east by Dennison Ferry Road and on the west by Great Onyx Road; 400 acres of this unit have been previously burned. Perimeters will be established around the Collins' house, Crystal Cave entrance, the ticket-sales building, Mammoth Cave Baptist Church and cemeteries to protect them. Because this is a large burn unit, aerial ignition will be used to ignite the ridge tops. Flint Ridge Road and Dennison Ferry Day Use Area will be closed during this fire.
Chaumont Burn Unit
The Chaumont Unit is located in a large sinkhole along the southeast boundary of the park. This unit was previously burned in 2004 and again in 2007. In cooperation with adjoining landowners and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the burn area may include some private property in order to avoid mid-slope fire control line construction. This 86-acre unit will be lit by hand with drip torches.
- NPS -