North River Ranger District Plans Prescribed Burn on Wallace Marshall Tract, Bath County, VA

Contact(s): Mary Yonce (540) 432-0187

March 5 – Harrisonburg, VA - The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests provide habitat for many plant and animal species across the lands they manage in Virginia and West Virginia, including nearly 300 considered threatened, endangered and locally rare. To help maintain and create habitat for these and other species Forest Service fire specialists are burning 350 acres on Wallace Marshall tract in Bath County. The burn is located along the Cow Pasture River 2 miles south of Williamsville. Burning will likely occur over at least a 2-day period. This burn is scheduled to begin March 5, 2018. We expect smoke to be visible, particularly from Williamsville and surrounding locations and residents nearby in Green valley and Deerfield will smell smoke. In all nearby locations the smoke will most likely settle in lower elevations and valleys during the night and early mornings. 
Safety of the public and fire personnel is our primary concern during this prescribed burn. Those responsible for this burn are well trained and have years of experience working with fire in protecting surrounding communities, themselves, and the land they are working to manage. Experienced fire specialists will closely monitor local weather conditions, such as wind and humidity, and make adjustments in 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 keep the fire within the burn area. 
The Wallace and Marshall Tracts are unique tracts of National Forest land acquired under the authority of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to provide recreational opportunities. Both tracts contain fields that were intensively managed for agriculture before acquisition. This project is designed to improve wildlife habitat in these fields. Prescribed fire can be used to create desired wildlife habitat conditions, control the spread of undesirable shrubs and trees, improve habitat for small mammals and grassland birds, and convert areas from cool season grasses to warm season grasses. 
For more information on our prescribed burn program, please contact the North River Ranger District at 540-432-0187.