WARREN, Pa. – The U.S. Forest Service is planning to conduct two fall prescribed fires on the Allegheny National Forest in Warren and Elk Counties.
Fire management staff, in consultation with Forest resource specialists, have identified ecosystem management and wildfire fuels reduction projects in the Spring Creek and the Jakes Rocks areas of the forest. Both areas have been managed successfully with prescribed fire in the past.
Prescribed fires are a historic and natural process of several ecosystems on the Allegheny National Forest, such as grasslands and oak/hickory forests. Oak/hickory forests, which comprise approximately 16 percent of the Allegheny National Forest, required periodic fires to reduce competing vegetation, recycle soil nutrients and stimulate the increased production of nuts and berries, such as blueberries and black berries.
Wildlife species, such as white-tailed deer, turkey, butterflies, songbirds, grouse, snakes and turtles use burned areas for cover, warming and a place to raise their young. In addition, prescribed fires reduce hazardous fuels, which can lead to uncontrolled wildfires.
Prescribed fires are conducted with the safety of the public and firefighters as the highest priority. A prescribed fire will only occur after a prescribed fire burn plan has been approved, qualified resources are available and environmental parameters are met and appropriate. The plans take into consideration and address a variety of ecological concerns and agency policies.
Projects are implemented only when the prescribed parameters, including wind speeds and direction, relative humidity, temperatures, fire danger, seasonal restrictions and mitigation of potential smoke impacts are met.
Updates and information will be posted on the Forest’s social media to inform the public that a prescribed burn may be occurring in their area.