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(Mammoth Cave National Park – April 11, 2008) Mammoth Cave National Park will be conducting prescribed fires April 14-19, 1008. Because the fires produce smoke that may linger, some areas in the park will be temporarily closed. Drivers are reminded to drive slowly and use their headlights in smoky areas.
“Safety is our number one priority on every prescribed fire,” said Superintendent Patrick H. Reed. “There could be smoke on some roads and trails, and some areas will be closed for the safety of the firefighters and the public. It will be short notice, too, because we can only burn when the weather and other conditions are right.”
· The Goblin Knob prescribed fire area consists of 1,682 acres in the northeast corner of the park, south of Ugly Creek Road.
· Temporary closures: White Oak trail, White Oak backcountry campsite, and a portion of Ugly Creek Road.
· Smoke may be visible along Green River, at Dennison Ferry day-use area, and by residents in the Dennison Ferry Road-Ugly Creek Road area (Edmonson and Hart counties).
· The Brooks Knob prescribed fire area consists of 1,726 acres, and lies between Green River and the park boundary near the community of Arthur in Edmonson County.
· Temporary closure: Brooks Knob Road.
· Smoke may be visible at Houchins Ferry area, in the Arthur community, and in Brownsville.
· The Peanut Knob prescribed fire area consists of 418 acres, north of Green River near Good Spring United Baptist Church.
· Temporary closures: Buffalo Road, Good Spring Trail, portions of Turnhole Bend Trail, and the Homestead backcountry campsite.
· Smoke may be visible in the Maple Springs complex, and at the Good Spring United Baptist Church.
For each fire, firefighters will blackline the perimeter, by burning a swath 10 to 20 feet wide inside the fireline. Aerial ignition, via helicopter, will be used to ignite the ridgetops. Based on the prescription, average flame height is expected to be two feet or less. The fire will be allowed to creep downslope into the hollows; there will be no ignition in the hollows or along the river. The Peanut Knob fire will be ignited by hand.
“We ask that anyone traveling through the park be aware of fire equipment and personnel in the vicinity of the fires,” said Rich Caldwell, the park’s fire management officer. “And any persons with health conditions aggravated by smoke should limit visitation to areas around the burn sites.”
The central purpose of prescribed burns is to replicate, as closely as possible, the role that naturally occurring fires played in shaping and maintaining the park’s diverse ecosystem. The prescribed burns are carefully planned and monitored fires used to improve habitat by removing encroaching plants, releasing nutrients, and burning off grass thatch that prevents natural reseeding. Along the north boundary of the burn unit, on the park boundary, prescribed fire will reduce hazardous fuels at the wild land urban interface/public-private lands interface.
- NPS -