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GWJ National Forest Prescribed Burns

Unit Information

George Washington & Jefferson National Forests
U.S. Forest Service
Roanoke, VA 24019

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Forest Service to conduct prescribed burn in Wise County Saturday 4/23

GWJ National Forest Prescribed Burns Prescribed Fire
News – 4/22/2022

Location: The High Butte burn unit is located in the Keokee Lake area, approximately ten miles southwest of Appalachia, VA, 2.8 miles southeast of Keokee, VA, two miles south of Exeter, VA, and 4.75 miles west of Big Stone Gap, VA.

Date and Time: Forest Service fire specialists are planning to ignite approximately 2,800 acres this Saturday, April 23. Firefighters will continue to monitor the prescribed burn area and smoke may be visible for several days. 

Purpose: This burn helps keep the public and homes safe by reducing the buildup of dried leaves and wood in nearby forest land that can lead to uncontrolled wildfires. This burn will improve wildlife habitat by restoring open woodlands and grasslands to the forest landscape.

Additional Information and Road/Trail Closures. The trail systems around Keokee Lake may be closed. The lake will be open to fishing with limitations. Fishing from the bank will be allowed only on the west side of lake to the damn. For your safety, please follow posted signs and trail closures when they occur. The controlled burn is expected to have lingering smoke effects in parts of Wise County including the town of Keokee, and Exeter and surrounding areas. Depending on wind direction, residents and travelers in these areas may see or smell smoke.

Fire specialists burned portions of this area earlier this spring. By burning the area in smaller units at different times in the season, residents and visitors in the area experience less smoke at one time. Burning both early and late in the season creates habitat diversity that is important for forest health.

Firefighter and public safety is our number one priority and fire specialist will conduct this prescribed buns only if weather conditions are appropriate.

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