Forest Service to Conduct Prescribed Burns in the Clinch Ranger District of Virginia | Outside

NORTON — The USDA Forest Service will begin conducting prescribed burns near the Appalachian communities of Pound, Big Stone Gap and Exeter in Wise County and Jenkins in Letcher County, Ky., starting next month.

Prescribed burns help keep the public and homes safe by reducing the accumulation of woody debris and dried leaves on nearby forest lands, which can lead to wildfires that can run wild if left untended. and reduced. In addition, prescribed burns improve wildlife habitat by restoring woodlands and open grasslands to the forest landscape.

Safety is the Forest Service’s top priority, and Forest Service fire officials will conduct prescribed burns in the following areas only under appropriate weather conditions:

Wise County and Letcher County: The 5,033 acre North Fork Pound burn unit is located two miles west, northwest of Pound and 3.2 miles south of Jenkins. North Fork Pound Lake, Cane Patch Campground, Pine Mountain Trail and Red Fox Trail may be closed.

For your safety, please follow posted signs and trail closures when they occur. The prescribed burn is expected to have lingering smoke in the communities of Jenkins and Pound and surrounding communities, as well as U.S. Route 23 in Virginia and U.S. Route 119 in Kentucky.

Depending on the direction of the wind, residents and travelers in these areas may see or smell smoke.

Earl Wise and Earl of Letcher: The 1,300 acre Cable Gap burn unit is located three miles northeast of Pound, 2.7 miles southeast of Jenkins and approximately 1.8 miles southwest of Gaskins and Burdine , Kentucky. Pine Mountain Trail, Austin Cemetery, South Mountain Road and part of White Oak Creek Road may be closed. For your safety, please follow posted signs and trail closures when they occur. The prescribed burn is expected to have lingering smoke in the communities of Jenkins and Pound and surrounding communities, as well as U.S. Route 23 in Virginia and U.S. Route 119 in Kentucky. Depending on the direction of the wind, residents and travelers in these areas may see or smell smoke.

wise county: The 3,368 acre High Butte burn unit is located in the Lake Keokee area: 10 miles southwest of Appalachia, 2.8 miles southeast of Keokee, 2 miles south of Exeter and 4.75 miles west of Big Stone Gap. Keokee Lake and its trail systems, as well as Keokee Lake Road may be closed. For your safety, please follow posted signs and trail closures when they occur. The prescribed burn is expected to have lingering smoke effects in parts of Wise County, including the town of Keokee, Exeter and surrounding areas. Depending on the direction of the wind, residents and travelers in these areas may see or smell smoke.

Experienced fire managers will closely monitor local weather conditions, such as wind and humidity, and adjust the schedule as needed to ensure the safety of crew members and local residents. Before igniting the burn, crews construct and designate firebreaks to ensure the fire does not leave the burn area. Burning will mimic historic natural fire as closely as possible. Some individual trees will burn, but the fire is expected to spread primarily through the forest floor.

The Forest Service works closely with partners and is able to accomplish this important habitat work with assistance from The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, and Virginia Department of Forestry, among others.

For thousands of years, fire has shaped our forests and our wildlife, and our lands need fire to be healthy. Low-intensity prescribed burns create open areas where a diverse mix of grasses, plants and wildflowers grow, and provide valuable food and shelter for wildlife like bears, deer, turkeys and migrating birds .

For more information on our prescribed burn program, please contact Clinch District Ranger, Michelle Davalos, at (276) 220-1670 or visit the website www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj.