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Contact: Tim Mauch, 804 795-5018 x. 1
The National Park Service is planning to conduct a prescribed burn on approximately 30 acres of park property at the Cold Harbor Battlefield, Richmond National Battlefield Park at the end of March. The burn will be carried out only if certain conditions are met, as described below. The areas to be burned are surrounded by an asphalt road and a wetland. The objectives of the burn are: 1) to maintain the 1862 historic scene as open forest, while reducing maintenance costs; 2) to enhance the native plant community of fire adapted species and the valuable wildlife habitat associated with it.
Safely conducting a prescribed burn is based on frequent monitoring of weather conditions. Various factors such as wind direction, wind speed, smoke dispersion, and fuel moisture must be within a strict, pre-determined range. If any of these environmental parameters are not met, the burn will not proceed; if the conditions start favorably and change, the burn will be stopped. Under this prescription, the fire will move slowly through the area and stop at the established burn breaks. Smoke will disperse quickly from the area, although neighbors may smell smoke during and shortly after the burn period. In the future, the park plans to burn this area every two to three years in order to maintain an open meadow landscape as it appeared when the opposing armies arrived here on July 1, 1862.
The park will have no fewer than sixteen (16) certified fire fighters on hand to ensure that the fire is conducted safely and without incident. The fire is expected to last no longer than 8 hours. The park tour road and extended trail will be closed to visitors during the burn. If you have any questions, please call (804) 795-5018 ext. 1.