Ozark Riverways Plans to Conduct Prescribed Burns

 Firefighters work on the 2016 Big Spring Cabins prescribed burn.
Firefighters work on the 2016 Big Spring Cabins prescribed burn.

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News Release Date: February 1, 2017

Contact: Dena Matteson, 573-323-4814

VAN BUREN, MO: Preparations are underway for Ozark National Scenic Riverways to accomplish several prescribed burns this spring. Prescribed burning provides a variety of benefits to native species and habitats, and helps reduce the threat of devastating wildfires. The burns will be carefully planned and monitored by the park’s Fire Management staff and will occur between early February 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.  

Three of the prescribed burns planned at Ozark Riverways in 2017 will be cooperative efforts with the Missouri Department of Conservation. The following prescribed burns are currently planned: 


  • Alley Spring prescribed burn unit, located near Alley Spring: 836 acres
  • Pistol Barrel prescribed burn unit, between Alley Spring and Eminence: 203 acres
  • Macy Reed prescribed burn unit, south of Blue Spring on the Current River: 672 acres  
  • Big Spring Ridge prescribed burn unit, south of Van Buren: 630 acres  
  • Campbell Point/Beaver Pond prescribed burn unit, on Brown Road south of Van Buren: 540 acres
  • Longbay prescribed burn unit, on Z Highway south of Big Spring: 1,200 acres
  • Partney prescribed burn unit, south of Big Spring: 105 acres
  • Peavine/Sweezie Hollow prescribed burn unit, south of Van Buren: 375 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) 323-4814 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.


 About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.govon Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTubewww.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

Last updated: February 2, 2017

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P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


(573) 323-4236

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