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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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Cancelled: Prescribed burn planned in Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area

GWJ National Forest Prescribed Burns Prescribed Fire
News – 5/4/2022

May 4, 2022 update: This prescribed burn has been cancelled due to unfavorable weather conditions. 

 May 4, 2022

2022_05_04-  The Cole Mountain prescribed burn area is located eight miles east of Buena Vista within the Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area.

Date and Time:  Fire Specialists plan to begin igniting a 440-acre section of this prescribed burn area on Thursday, May 5, if weather conditions allow.

Purpose: Prescribed fire has multiple environmental and social benefits.This prescribed burn will help reduce vegetation and restore open fields, maintaining breathtaking Appalachian Trail views and creating early successional wildlife habitat.
Road and Trail Closures:  The Old Hotel Trail (Forest Service Trail #515) and portions of the Appalachian Trail from Cow Camp Gap to Hog Camp Gap will be temporarily closed for the duration of the burn, at least six hours and until the trail is safe for use again. Portions of Hog Camp Road (Forest Service Road #48) and North Fork of the Buffalo Road (FSR #51) may also be temporarily closed. For your safety, please follow posted signs and closures when they occur.
Additional Information: The controlled burn may have lingering smoke effects in the surrounding area. Depending on wind direction, residents and travelers in these areas may see or smell smoke.

Expect reduced visibility, drive with caution and use fog lights if driving through smoke.

Smoke is expected to lift high into the air during the daytime, but may settle into low lying areas in the evenings. The fire will continue to burn in the area until significant precipitation occurs. Rain is forecasted for Friday and Saturday. Firefighters will continue to monitor the burn for several days.  

Safety is the Forest Service’s top priority, and Forest fire managers will conduct this prescribed burn only under appropriate weather conditions. 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 both crewmembers and local residents. Prior to lighting the burn, crews construct and designate firebreaks to ensure the fire does not leave the burn area. Some individual trees will burn, but the fire should travel mostly across the forest floor.

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