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January 31, 2008   Email to Friend 

FOREST SERVICE PLANS PRESCRIBED BURNS FOR ALABAMA
Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
January 31, 2008

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The U.S. Forest Service is preparing to burn about 85,000 acres throughout Bankhead, Talladega, Conecuh and Tuskegee national forests during the next three months.

If weather conditions permit, the Forest Service will conduct controlled burns as part of the land management plan to reduce forest fuels, help plant and animal habitats and protect communities from the threat of wildfires.

"The Forest Service is committed to maintaining the health of national forests and keeping our communities safe from wildfires," said Miera Crawford Nagy, forest supervisor for Alabama's national forests.

Last year, the agency treated 56,785 acres for hazardous fuels throughout national forests in Alabama. The land management plan directs the Forest Service to use prescribed fire as a tool to reduce fuel-buildup on the ground floor that could lead to a wildfire if untreated.

According to Greg Born, fire management officer for national forests in Alabama, prescribed fire is a controlled, low-intensity fire that opens the forest floor by reducing some of the brush and mid-story trees that block sunlight from reaching the ground. "

When we conduct prescribed burns, we are burning excess debris that could build up and lead to a wildfire," said Born. "We also use prescribed fire as a management tool to maintain a healthy balance of vegetation and wildlife habitat conditions."

Residents and travelers near the Bankhead, Talladega, Conecuh and Tuskegee national forests may notice an increase in Forest Service fire personnel who are monitoring and patrolling the burns. Periodically, there may be smoke in the area, which may reduce visibility. The Forest Service urges drivers to slow down and use their low-beam lights in smoky areas. Persons with smoke sensitivities should also take precautions.




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