Prescribed fire near Buckaloons set for today

Times Observer file photo A prescribed burn is set for today near the Buckaloons Recreation Area.

Prescribed burns are planned for the next couple days on the Allegheny National Forest.

And both are set to take place in Warren County.

The Friday burn is federal land adjacent to the Buckaloons Recreation Area — the bean fields — while Saturday’s burn is called the Izenbrown Project Area located near Limestone Township.

“Ignitions are planned to begin mid-morning and rising columns of smoke may be visible throughout each day,” ANF Public Affairs Officer Chris Leeser said, noting that information will als be posted on the ANF’s social media channels.

Leeser explained that fire management staff with forest resource specialists “identified wildfire fuels reduction and forest health, wildlife, and ecosystem management objectives to accomplish with the prescribed fires.”

A statement from the ANF calls fire a “historic and natural process for several ecosystems on the Allegheny National Forest, grasslands and oak-hickory forests being two prime examples.

“By improving these habitats, a host of wildlife stands to benefit in the long-term. 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.”

Leeser explained that the Buckaloons fire, 78 acres in size, “will restore warm-season grasses on the largest grassland in the Forest, which is managed in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to improve habitat for birds.”

There are two specific objectives for the Izenbrown fire, which is much larger at 519 acres.

“The first is to reduce the amount of hazardous fuels in the area, which, when left unburned, can lead to uncontrolled wildfires that could threaten human life and property,” he explained. “The second is to regenerate oak-hickory woodland by reducing competing undesirable vegetation, recycling soil nutrients, and stimulating increased production of acorns, blueberries, blackberries, and other mast crops.”

The parameters for these fires – wind speed, humidity, temperature, fire danger, etc. – are strict and Leeser stressed that the burns “are conducted with the safety of the public and firefighters as the highest priority.”


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