Prescribed fires to be conducted this spring in Cherokee NF

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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Firefighters with the North Zone of the Cherokee National Forest are expecting a window of opportunity from March through mid-May to conduct several prescribed burns, pending favorable weather and fuel conditions. This list is dynamic, but these are the areas most likely to be burned during this period.
Prescribed burns in the Watauga District include these areas:
– Stone 4 (440 acres) – Along Stone Mountain at the end of Stone Mountain Road. Along FSRs 53351 and 53352. Northwest of Simerly Creek Road (Hwy. 173).
– Gum Hollow (87 acres) – South of intersection of Dry Creek Road (Hwy. 361) and Gap Creek Road (Hwy. 362) on FSR 5311.
– Old Growth (571 Acres) – Located at the end of Panhandle Road (FSR 202), on top of Holston Mountain and along Furnace Branch Road (FSR 5081).
– Cook Hollow (500 acres) – On the northwest side of Watauga Lake near Sink Mountain Boat Ramp Road.
– Job Corps (500 acres) – Northeast of Jacobs Creek Job Corps Center off Denton Valley Road (Hwy. 32) and Pine Mountain Road (FSR 4002) east of South Holston Lake.
– Harpers Creek (275 Acres) – Along FSR 4002 and just east of Wyatt Hollow Road.
– Wheeler Spur (280 acres) – Between Wheeler Spur Roa (FSR 6090) and Wyatt Hollow Road (FSR 32).
– Lake Edge A/B (170 acres) – Peninsula at the southwest side of South Holston Lake just southwest of Little Oak Campground.
Also, a prescribed burn is scheduled for 850 acres in the Walnut Mountain Area of the Unaka Ranger District between Rattlesnake Gap, Lemon Gap, and Kale Gap on the TN-NC border along FSR 96.
Prescribed fires are implemented in accordance with a written burn plan that prescribes specific weather and smoke dispersion conditions to exist before crews proceed. Crews are responsible for igniting vegetation, monitoring control and spread of fire and smoke, ensuring fire is held by control features, and monitoring fire behavior. Prescribed fire is used in the Cherokee National Forest for several reasons, including to reduce fire hazards, improve habitat, and to help manage for desirable vegetation.
Forest Service managers say that because of changing weather conditions, it is difficult to say exactly what days burns will be conducted. In many cases the decision to burn cannot be made until the day of the burn. As weather conditions allow, prescribed burning will be going on throughout the spring.
For more information, please contact the Unaka Ranger District office at (423) 638-4109.

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