WNF plans fall prescribed fires

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 22, 2023

Burn window: Approximately Oct. 15 – Dec. 31

NELSONVILLE — This fall, the Wayne National Forest is preparing prescribed fires in three areas totaling up to 1,915 acres. The planned burn areas are located in the Athens and Ironton Ranger Districts.

The burn window is approximately Oct. 15 – Dec. 31.

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“Fire is a critical ecological process for our forests in southeast Ohio, as it is essential to restoring and maintaining our oak-dominated woodlands. Prescribed fire is our way of mimicking this critical natural process and ensures that we achieve the desired conditions on our landscape,” forest supervisor Lee Stewart said. “When the right conditions are present, prescribed fires help us sustain healthy oak-dominated forests. Our agency professionals work diligently to ensure that prescribed fires are conducted safely and effectively.”

Oak-dominated forests are fire-tolerant, and occasional low-intensity prescribed fires help oak trees outcompete other species such as maple and beech, which thrive in shade and are becoming increasingly more common. Oak-dominated ecosystems provide critical food and habitat to a variety of wildlife species and are important to our society.

Depending on weather, terrain, and fuel conditions, fire crews may use traditional ground-based or aerial ignition methods to conduct the prescribed fire.

During prescribed fire operations, the public should avoid the vicinity and be prepared to drive slowly. A temporary flight restriction may be established over the burn area to protect aircraft performing official work duties. All unauthorized aircraft, including drones, will be prohibited from flying over the area during those times, as they can interfere with authorized air support operations.

Summary details about the planned prescribed burns are below:

Athens Ranger District

• Long Ridge (East) Prescribed Fire, Units 20-23, 24.1, 27, & 28

• Size: Approximately 695 acres

• Location: Athens County, Dover Township, near West Bailey Road and Big Bailey Road.

Ironton Ranger District

• Sunny Oaks Prescribed Fire, Units 9 & 11

• Size: Approximately 200 acres

• Location: Gallia County, Perry Township, near Skyline Road, Nebo Road and Woodside Road.

• Pine Creek Prescribed Fire, Units C & D

• Size: Approximately 1,020 acres

• Location: Scioto County, Vernon and Bloom Townships, Forest Service Road 132, County Road 2, County Road 10 and Pine Creek Lawrence County, Decatur Township, near Forest Service Road 132 and Pine Creek