Ozark Riverways Plans for 2016 Prescribed Burns

Firefighters working on 2015 Jerktail Mountain burn
Firefighters work on the 2015 Jerktail Mountain prescribed burn

Photo courtesy of Andrew Sheeley, Salem News

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News Release Date: January 14, 2016

Contact: Dena Matteson, 573-323-8028

VAN BUREN, MO:Preparations are underway for Ozark National Scenic Riverways to accomplish several prescribed burns this spring.The burns will be carefully planned and monitored by the park's Fire Management staff and will occur between late January and mid-April.The scheduling of these prescribed burns is dependent on weather and vegetation meeting certain conditions.During prescribed burns, park operations will continue as usual, although temporary closure of trails adjacent to the burn unit may be necessary for visitor safety.A portion of the Ozark Trail will be closed for a couple of days during the Mill/Buzzard prescribed burn near Rocky Falls.

Many of the prescribed burns planned at Ozark Riverways in 2016 will be cooperative efforts with other agencies and organizations, including the Missouri Department of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, and Pioneer Forest (L.A.D Foundation).The following prescribed burns are currently planned:

·Mill/Buzzard prescribed burn unit, located near Rocky Falls: 1,231 acres

·Thorny Creek prescribed burn unit east of Roberts Field:2,232 acres

·Macy Reed unit, south of Blue Spring on the Current River: 672 acres

·Pulltite prescribed burn unit: 577 acres

·Big Spring Cabins unit: 48 acres

·Welch Lodge prescribed burn unit: 209 acres

·Devils Well unit: 323 acres

In order to ensure the safety of firefighters and the public, foot and vehicle travel in or near the prescribed fire operations may be temporarily restricted.Firefighters plan to conduct prescribed burns during weather conditions that will allow for smoke to disperse without causing negative impacts. However, smoke may impair visibility in the vicinity of the prescribed burn and could linger low in the atmosphere over a broad geographic area.Individuals with respiratory ailments are encouraged to take extra precautions to avoid exposure to smoke.Anyone who is concerned about the potential impacts of smoke from a prescribed burn can request to be added to the park's notification list in order to be contacted in advance.

Prescribed burning has a variety of purposes, including the reduction of fuel accumulations near developed areas, which helps reduce the threat of unplanned wildland fires in and around Ozark National Scenic Riverways.Prescribed fire benefits native plants and animals in a variety of ways. Deer, turkeys, collared lizards and other species benefit from the use of fire to maintain or improve the habitat they depend on. Native habitats such as glades, savannas, and woodlands can suffer from woody overgrowth in the absence of fire.

The National Park Service works cooperatively with other local land management agencies to conduct prescribed burns each spring. If you would like to receive additional information about other prescribed burns in the local area, please contact Missouri Department of Conservation at (573)226-3616 or the U.S. Forest Service at (573)364-4621. For more information about prescribed burns at Ozark Riverways or to be included on the park's notification list, contact Dena Matteson at (573) 323-8028 or e-mail us. We encourage all to visit the park's website at www.nps.gov/ozar or our Facebook page for further updates.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.

Last updated: January 14, 2016

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P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


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