News Release

Valley Forge to Set Prescribed Fires in April to Manage Invasive Plants

Prescribed Fire at Artillery Park
National Park Service firefighters manage a prescribed fire within Valley Forge during the spring of 2018

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News Release Date: March 26, 2019

Contact: Jonathan Parker, 610-342-5182

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – Final preparations are underway for a 135-acre prescribed fire at Valley Forge National Historical Park, currently scheduled for early April.  Last year the park successfully completed prescribed fire treatments on 126 acres across four meadows to control exotic invasive plants. This spring the park plans to burn two distinct meadows, located between and along PA Route 23 and Gulph Road.   Fire operations could take up to one week to complete depending on field and weather conditions.
 
The specific date of the prescribed fire depends on weather conditions falling within required parameters, such as wind, temperature, and relative humidity, and may be as early as April 1.  The specific dates will be posted immediately to go.nps.gov/vafofire once selected.  Visitor facilities, trails, and roads will remain open and public viewing areas adjacent to the fire will be available. Vehicle traffic on PA Route 23 and Gulph Road may experience slight delays due to smoke.
 
Valley Forge National Historical Park contains over 1,500 acres of meadows that provide vital habitat for birds and mammals. In recent years these meadows have been overtaken by exotic invasive plants which degrade the habitat and cannot be adequately controlled by mowing or herbicide. Prescribed fire has proven to be a successful tool to manage non-native vegetation and to promote native species, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments. The area for the burn is within the Grand Parade area, a high priority habitat area with a diverse mixture of native and non-native plant species that will be assessed following the burn. Fire will help control high priority invasive plants including Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) and Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana).
 
Valley Forge National Historical Park is coordinating the prescribed fire with National Park Service staff from the Mid-Atlantic Fire Management Area based at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and local municipalities. The perimeter of the prescribed fire will be mowed and wetted with water prior to ignition. National Park Service staff will monitor air quality and smoke impacts as well as visibility on Gulph Road and PA Route 23.
 
Copies of the prescribed fire plan, maps, a Frequently Asked Questions, and other public resources are available online at go.nps.gov/vafofire.  For further questions, please contact Jonathan Parker, Public Information Officer, by email or phone at Jonathan_Parker@nps.gov or 610-783-1008.



Last updated: March 26, 2019

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