Robert Davidson

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Trace Plans Controlled Burns

Weather depending, the Natchez Trace Parkway has plans to conduct three prescribed fires (controlled burns) in Lee County between the dates of October 23 and October 25. The prescribed fires are located in the following areas:

Prescribed Fire Name

Milepost

Headquarters

266

Need Center

266

Lakeshire Woodlands

262.4 – 263.8

The Blackland Prairie section of the National Scenic Trail between McCullough Boulevard and Highway 78 will be temporarily closed during the Lakeshire Woodlands prescribed fire. The northern trailhead of the National Scenic Trail near Beech Springs Road will be closed during the Need Center prescribed fire.

Prescribed fire is a useful and cost effective tool for managing the forests and grasslands that encompass the Parkway. The benefits of using prescribed fire include reducing the buildup of dead woody material, decreasing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, perpetuating fire dependent vegetation, reducing exotic vegetation, providing habitat and forage for animals, and restoring the natural role of fire in a healthy ecosystem.

During prescribed fire operations, smoke warning signs will be placed along the Parkway as a precaution. Motorists should travel at a safe speed with headlights on when smoke is visible. Please be aware of park rangers, firefighting personnel, and equipment along the roadway and mow line. If visibility falls below 500 feet, the Parkway may be temporarily closed until smoke has cleared. Some smoke may be visible for several days after initial prescribed fire operations have ended.

The Parkway has been utilizing prescribed fire since 1992. Direction to utilize prescribed fire to achieve goals and objectives comes from the Parkway’s Resource Management and Fire Management Plan. The Federal Wildland Fire Policy of 2001 recommends that federal land management agencies within fire dependent communities continue to reintroduce and maintain fire as part of the ecosystem.