Will Improve Wildlife Habitat in Wise and Scott Counties,,,
Norton, Va. March 2, 2021 — The USDA Forest Service will conduct prescribed burns in Wise and Scott Counties between March and mid-May this spring. Prescribed burns improve wildlife habitat by restoring open woodlands and grasslands to the forest landscape. Safety is the Forest Service’s top priority, and Forest Service fire managers will conduct prescribed burns in the following areas only under appropriate weather conditions:
Wise and Scott Counties, Virginia: The 1,603-acre Pound Gap burn unit is located along the Wise and Scott county lines approximately two miles north of Dungannon along State Route 664 and Little Stony Creek Road (Forest Service Road 700) and along Ramey Branch Creek and Little Stony Creek. Potential lingering smoke effects could occur within the Little Stony Creek and Guest River drainages. For your safety, please follow posted signs and comply with area closures when they occur. Depending on wind direction, this prescribed burn may have lingering smoke effects. Residents of the town of Coeburn and travelers on U.S. Route 72 may see or smell smoke.
Wise County, Virginia: The 1,472-acre Flatwoods burn unit is located three miles south of Coeburn and east of U.S. Route 72 along the Guest River. For your safety, please follow posted signs and comply with area closures when they occur. Depending on wind direction, this prescribed burn may have lingering smoke effects. Residents of Dungannon and Coeburn and travelers on Hanging Rock Parkway (U.S. Route 65) may see or smell smoke.
Each burn may take several days to complete. Residents may see and smell smoke, especially during the ignition phase of the burn. Residual smoke may settle in low lying areas during the evening and early morning hours.
Experienced fire managers will closely monitor local weather conditions, such as wind and humidity, and adjust the schedule as needed to ensure the safety of both crewmembers and residents. Prior to lighting the burn, crews construct and designate firebreaks to ensure the fire does not leave the burn area. The burn will mimic historic natural fire as much as possible. Some individual trees will burn, but the fire should travel mostly across the forest floor.
For thousands of years, fire shaped our forests and wildlife and our lands need fire to be healthy. Low intensity prescribed burns create open areas where a diverse mix of grasses, plants and wildflowers grow, and provide valuable food and cover for wildlife such as bears, deer, turkeys, and migratory birds.For more information on our prescribed burn program, please contact the Clinch Ranger District at (276) 679-8370, visit our website http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj, or follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/GWJNF1.