National Forest to reduce risk of wildfire through controlled burns near Blacksburg

Contact(s): Dan McKeague (540) 552-4641

Map of the controlled burn area

Blacksburg, Va. - January 21, 2020 – The USDA Forest Service will begin conducting controlled burns near Blacksburg as soon as tomorrow, January 22. Controlled burns keep the general public and homes safe by reducing the buildup of dried leavNational Forest to reduce risk of wildfire through controlled burns near Blacksburges and wood in nearby forest land that can lead to uncontrolled wildfires. Safety is the Forest Service’s top priority, and Forest Service fire managers will conduct controlled burns in the following areas only under appropriate weather conditions:

The 1,141-acre Brush Mountain West burn unit is located 2.5 miles North of Blacksburg and 2.5 miles south of Newport. The project area will be burned in four smaller sub-units to help fire managers control smoke impacts. Trails in and around Pandapas Pond may be closed. For your safety, please follow posted signs and trail closures when they occur. The controlled burn is expected to have lingering smoke effects in the Poverty Creek Drainage. There may also be light smoke impacts to Highway 460, Poverty Creek Road (Forest Road 10911), and Forest Road 113. Depending on wind direction, residents and travelers in these areas may see or smell smoke.

The 50-acre Brush Mountain East burn unit is located adjacent to the Preston Forest neighborhood, 2.5 miles north of Blacksburg, and 2.5 south of Newport. Smoke impacts in and around Preston Forest and along Highway 460 may occur depending on wind direction.

Experienced fire managers will closely monitor local weather conditions, such as wind and humidity, and adjust 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 ensure the fire does not leave the burn area. The burn will mimic historic natural fire as much as possible. Some individual trees will burn, but the fire should travel mostly across the forest floor. 
For thousands of years, fire shaped our forests and 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 cover for wildlife such as bears, deer, turkeys and migratory birds.

For more information on our prescribed burn program, please contact the Eastern Divide Ranger District office at (540) 552-4641.

Controlled Burn Map (pdf file)