Story from staff reports. Photo by Lenka Reznicek.
Cary, NC – If you see smoke billowing out of Hemlock Bluffs on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, don’t panic. It’s a regularly schedule prescribed burn to tend to the health of the park.
Hemlock Bluffs Burn on Tuesday
From Town of Cary via email:
As part of its long-term fire management plan for Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, the Town of Cary will perform its annual prescribed burn at the bluffs on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, weather permitting.
The North Carolina Forest Service will implement and supervise the burn, which will measure less than the size of two football fields. Town staff will offer logistical assistance and a Town of Cary fire truck will be present on site during the burn. While certain sections of select trails will close for the day, the preserve and Steven’s Nature Center will remain open and visitors are encouraged to enjoy as usual.
“Wildfires are a common threat to structures in many areas of North Carolina, especially during drought and times of high winds, and prescribed burns are a proven and safe way to reduce fuel loads in forests and other areas,” said Mark Johns, Program Specialist at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve.
“Safety is our top priority, so trails will be well-signed and patrolled by natural resource managers and preserve staff as needed.”
Prescribed burns are a safe and proven way of clearing dead vegetation and flammable underbrush, which can serve as fuel for wildfires. Many North Carolina ecosystems require periodic fire for maintenance, increased productivity and overall health. Removing the underbrush also improves habitat for wildlife by releasing vital nutrients and increasing the number of close to the ground plants, like blueberry and huckleberry, that produce fruits eaten by birds and other wildlife.
The Town even has a Prescribed Burn Fact Sheet.