Wayne National Forest to have prescribed burns

Published 3:30 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

NELSONVILLE — This spring, the Wayne National Forest is preparing prescribed fires in three areas totaling up to 3,088 acres on the Athens and Ironton Ranger Districts.

Oak-dominated forests like the Wayne are fire-tolerant, and frequent, low-intensity prescribed fires help oak trees outcompete other species such as maple and beech, which thrive in shade. Without intervening treatments like prescribed fire, they are positioned to replace our valuable oak-dominated forests. Oak-dominated ecosystems provide critical food and habitat to a variety of wildlife species and are important to society.

“Prescribed fire was first used by indigenous people to steward the forest habitat and remains a valuable tool for maintaining a diverse forest,” Forest Supervisor Lee Stewart said. “As forestry and technical professionals, we have a duty to actively steward the National Forest. The trees that grow after a prescribed burn, especially the oak species, are the future of our forest’s ecosystem. Our fire management professionals plan and implement these burning operations to ensure we achieve our ecological objectives in safe manner.”

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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 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 local planned prescribed burns are:

Ironton Ranger District
Pine Creek Prescribed Fire, Units C, D, I and J
Size: Approximately 1,913 acres

• Scioto County, Vernon and Bloom Townships, near Forest Service Road 132, County Road 10, and Howard Furnace Road.
• Lawrence County, Decatur Township, near Forest Service Road 132 and Howard Ridge Road.