National Park Service Fire Managers Plan Prescribed Fires This Spring

Prescribed fire at Sandstone Visitor Center
Prescribed fire at Sandstone Visitor Center

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News Release Date: February 24, 2017

Contact: Julena Campbell, 304-465-6523

Glen Jean - New River Gorge National River fire managers are preparing for several prescribed fires this spring, between February 27 and May 31, weather permitting. Current plans include burning three separate units ranging in size from four to 45 acres, totaling approximately 95 acres. Fuel and weather conditions must be within certain parameters and that will determine the exact dates of the fires.
Two of the fire units are located in the park’s south district (Sandstone and Grandview); Backus II is located in the park’s north district. Prescribed fires allow fire managers to conduct a safe burn under optimal conditions with sufficient resources available to meet specific objectives such as decreasing the risks from wildland fire to life, property and resources, restoring ecological processes, and meeting specific resource management goals. This spring’s prescribed fires will reduce hazardous fuels and the threat of future wildland fires, control encroachment of woody species into open meadows, improve wildlife habitat, and promote oak regeneration.
During the Sandstone prescribed fire, smoke will be visible from Interstate 64 and the Sandstone Visitor Center will be temporarily closed for a few hours to ensure public, staff, and firefighter safety. During the Grandview prescribed fire, some Grandview area trails and picnic shelters will be temporarily closed to ensure public and firefighter safety. Up-to-date information on any facility or trail closures and fire activity will be posted on the park’s social media sites.
Burn Unit                  Location   Acres
Backus II Southeastern Fayette County  45
Grandview                 Northeastern Raleigh County   45
Sandstone  Northern Summers County 5         

For each prescribed fire, fire managers work with other resource managers for several years planning and writing a specific prescription that includes parameters for smoke impacts, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, fuel moisture for live and dead burnable vegetation, and more. The plans also delineate the types and numbers of resources needed to safely conduct each burn. Before burning, a designated set of conditions must exist including ideal air temperature, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity. Weather conditions will be monitored throughout the duration of the burn to ensure the prescribed fire is completed safely.
For more information about the fire management program at the park, visit

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Last updated: February 24, 2017

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