Wayne National Forest to remove downed trees, limbs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 22, 2003

From staff reports

The Wayne National Forest announced that it is identifying areas with high concentrations of fallen trees and limbs, and is considering treating or removing them to reduce the likelihood of fires in the fall.

"Treating the most critical areas close to homes is one of our fire-prevention priorities," said John W. Brown, assistant district ranger for operations of the forest. "The recent ice storm in our area has made the Wayne more vulnerable to fires and has increased the threat of fires to homes, particularly those near the forest."

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Brown said to reduce the chances of forest fires, the forest is conducting an inventory of fuels (burnable materials) and may remove them by either chipping them on site or hauling them elsewhere. This could create a more defensible space between homes and the forest, he said.

Also being considered are extensive public-education programs to inform community residents about fire hazards, thereby preventing most forest fires. Brown said that the forest is particularly vulnerable to such fires because some 5,308 homes and similar structures are within the forest's boundary.

"With so many structures and dwellings close to the Wayne, it is critical that we prepare now to avert an serious consequences down the road," Brown said.