Columbia, SC - Congaree National Park plans to complete a controlled burn on approximately 680 acres of park woodlands during the month of April or early May.
The purpose of prescribed fire is to reduce hazardous fuels and the threat of wildfire to park resources and neighbors, enhance habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and restore fire in the natural system.
The implementation of the burns will be dependent upon site conditions, wind, relative humidity, fuel moisture, and firefighter availability.
The burn area will include Sims Trail on the west and Red Bluff Road on the east. Precautions have been taken to minimize any inconvenience to neighbors; however, smoke may drift into areas other than those immediately adjacent to the burn site. Certain park trails as well as the Bluff campground will be unavailable during the prescribed burn.
“Fire is a natural part of the upland ecosystem in the park,” says Chief of Resource Management Liz Struhar,
“Longleaf pine forests once covered much of the southeast United States. These burns will help reestablish these forests which are home to many species of wildlife.” Periodic burning can actually reduce the threat of a major wildfire by reducing the buildup of flammable underbrush or “fuels.”
Prior to implementing the burns, notices will be posted at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, throughout the park, and out in the community. Visitors who plan to camp during the month of April are advised that the campgrounds could close on short notice. Those who have reservations will be notified and provided an opportunity to reschedule or acquire a refund. For back country campers, a message will be left at the phone number provided by the permit holder.
For more information about Congaree National Park, call 803.647.3970 or visit www.nps.gov/cong.
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