WNF prescribed forest burn successful

Published 11:26 am Thursday, November 6, 2008

PEDRO— Firefighters from the Wayne National Forest are calling Tuesday’s 400-acre Young’s Branch prescribed burn very successful, as crews carry out mop up operations.

One of the objectives for the prescribed fire was to reduce hazardous fuels such as fallen trees that were left behind from the historic 2003 Ice Storm.

It’s estimated several tons of debris was burned, returning vital nutrients to the soil. The burn is also helping reestablish oak and hickory trees, which help support wildlife habitat in the area.

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A total of 35 fire fighters were on hand including U.S. Forest Service Hot Shot crew members from the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie of Illinois, fire fighters from the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont and the Huron-Manistee National Forest from Michigan.

Two meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va. were on site for consultation and to forecast weather conditions.

Fire fighters had hoped to begin burning on Monday, but weather conditions were not ideal for ignition. The burn area is located in Decatur Township in Lawrence County, as well as Vernon and Bloom Townships in Scioto County.

A closure order for public health and safety remains in effect for the burn area and Forest Service Road 132, and a portion of the Wolcott ORV Trail. The order will be active until further notice.

If weather conditions remain the same, the public can expect U.S. Forest Service fire fighters will conduct more prescribed burning in the coming weeks on the Ironton and Athens Ranger Districts of the Wayne National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service manages the Wayne National Forest’s almost 241,000 acres covering 12 counties in southeastern Ohio.