Prescribed Burn at Malvern Hill 2010

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Date: March 17, 2010
Contact: Kristen Allen, 804 795-5019

The National Park Service will conduct a prescribed burn on approximately 40 acres of park property at the Malvern Hill battlefield unit of Richmond National Battlefield Park at the end of March. In order to ensure it remains under the control of firefighters, the burn will be carried out only if certain conditions are met, as described below. The areas to be burned are surrounded by a wide gravel road, wetland and areas of short-mowed grass. The objectives of the burn are: 1) to maintain the 1862 historic scene as a meadow, while reducing maintenance costs; 2) to reduce woody and non-native species density.

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 12 certified wildland fire fighters on hand to ensure that the fire is conducted safely and without incident. The fire is expected to last no longer than eight hours. The park trail and parsonage parking lot will be closed during the burn for visitor safety. Following the burn, the area will temporarily be black. However, in just a few weeks, the area will be green with vegetation. If you have any questions, please call (804) 795-5019.



Last updated: February 26, 2015

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