Buckaloons part of ANF’s prescribed burn schedule

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Several prescribed burns are planned on the Allegheny National Forest, including at Buckaloons, in the next couple months. Last year, fire crews conducted a burn pictured here at Jakes Rocks.

Federal officials are planning several prescribed burns on the Allegheny National Forest this spring, including one at Buckaloons.

The burns are scheduled during March, April and May, according to Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Chris Leeser.

“We do not have exact dates yet,” he explained. “Our operations are weather dependent, and we will implement prescribed fires at the optimal time to achieve the best results.”

Areas where prescribed fires are being planned include “near Buckaloons, Buzzard Swamp, Spring Creek, Izenbrown and a few other areas,” he said.

Leeser said communities near the burn sites will be notified 24 to 48 hours prior to ignition and that information on the burns will also be pushed on social media.

The planned burns total about 800 acres.

“We conduct prescribed fires with the safety of the public and firefighters as the highest priority,” Leeser stressed. “We use fire as a tool only when the parameters of our approved burn plan are met, including wind speed and direction, relative humidity, temperature, fire danger, seasonal restrictions and mitigation of potential smoke impacts.”

Specific goals for the burns include “wildfire field reduction” as well as forest health, wildlife and ecosystem management.

“Fires are a historic and natural process for some ecosystems on the Allegheny National Forest, grasslands and oak-hickory forests are two prime examples,” Leeser explained. “Oak-hickory forests, which comprise approximately 16 percent of the Forest, require periodic fires to reduce competing undesirable vegetation, recycle soil nutrients and stimulate the increased production of acorns, blueberries, blackberries, and other mast crops.”

Wildlife benefits also abound in the wake of these burns

“White-tailed deer, turkey, butterflies, songbirds, grouse, snakes, turtles, and other wildlife species utilize burned areas for feeding, nesting, warming, and a place to raise their young,” he explained.


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