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Controlled burning set for Conecuh National Forest

Prescribed burning will begin occurring in the Conecuh National Forest again soon.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Friday that fire management personnel plan to conduct state-wide prescribed burns in the National Forests in Alabama during the coming winter months.

The weather during the winter months provide a prime opportunity for successful controlled burns.

“Prescribed fire (controlled burning) is a carefully planned, critical, and cost-effective management tool that benefits the National Forest in Alabama’s wildlife and environment, and also helps reduce the impact of wildfire hazards,” said Joe Smith, fire management officer with the U.S. Forest Service.

Tim Mersmann, district ranger, said that they have been burning in the CNF since the fall, but lately it has been too wet.

“We’ll be burning every good day we can through June or so,” he said.

More than 100,000 acres are planned for prescribed fire throughout Alabama’s four national forests – Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee throughout the next several months.

Each burn is carefully planned and executed by professionally-trained and experienced Forest Service personnel.  Effects (both short and long term) can be evidenced in the improvement of plant and animal habitat and overall forest health to withstand natural disturbances such as drought, insect infestation and diseases.  The threat of wildfire to communities located near the national forests is also reduced through the use of controlled burns by reducing the buildup of hazardous fuels.

Unfortunately, burning produces smoke. While fire management specialists carefully plan and carry out controlled burns in a manner designed to limit the amount of smoke impacts to the publics, sometimes these impacts still occur. If you encounter smoke on roadways, please turn on your headlights and slow down.

On the day of burn, there will be an increased presence of crews and equipment along the borders and within the planned area for ignition.  Trails may be closed, as well as other recreational areas, roads and facilities to ensure public safety. Please pay attention to any warning signs you encounter and avoid travel around burn areas when possible.  Continue to follow the National Forests in Alabama’s Facebook page for updated prescribed burn information.