Forest Service plans prescribed burns in Bland, Grayson, Smyth, Tazwell, Washington and Wythe Counties to improve wildlife habitat

Contact(s): Barry Garten (276) 783-5196


Map of prescribed burns planned for the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in 2021

Marion, Va. March 4, 2021 — The USDA Forest Service will conduct prescribed burns in Bland, Grayson, Smyth, Tazwell, Washington and Wythe Counties, Virginia between March and mid-May this spring. Prescribed burns improve wildlife habitat by restoring open woodlands and grasslands to the forest landscape. Safety is the Forest Service’s top priority, and Forest Service fire managers will conduct prescribed burns in the following areas only under appropriate weather conditions:

Grayson County, Virginia: The 2,350 High Country burn is located within the Mount Rogers High Country area, approximately three miles southwest of Troutdale. This prescribed burn is comprised of six smaller units which maybe burned separately or together. Sections of the Appalachian Trail between State Route 58 and Grayson Highlands State Park will be temporarily closed for a short time, likely no more than two hours, on the day of the burn. For your safety, please follow posted signs and comply with trail closures when they occur. Depending on wind direction, this prescribed burn may have lingering smoke effects.

Tazewell, Smyth and Bland Counties, Virginia:  The 1,498-acre Huff Hollow burn lies along Little Brushy Mountain, approximately 1.5 miles northeast of Chatham Hill and 1.5 miles east of State Highway 16. The unit is bordered by Forest Road 614, Forest Road 618 and Forest Road 878. A section of the Appalachian Trail is approximately 0.25 miles northeast of the prescribed fire area. Hikers may see and smell smoke. For your safety, please follow posted signs and comply with area closures when they occur. Depending on wind direction, this prescribed burn may have lingering smoke effects. Residents of Marion, Wytheville and Bland and travelers on State Highway 16 may see or smell smoke.

Wythe County, Virginia:  The 1,098-acre Horse Heaven Prescribed Burn is located three miles south of Speedwell and east of U.S. Route 21. The prescribed fire area is adjacent to and north of Forest Road 14. The Virginia Highlands Horse trail lies within the prescribed fire area and may be temporarily closed during the burn. For your safety, please follow posted signs and comply with trail closures when they occur. Depending on wind direction, this prescribed burn may have lingering smoke effects. Residents of Speedwell, Cripple Creek, Wytheville and Galax, and travelers on U.S. Route 21 may see or smell smoke.

Grayson, Smyth and Washington Counties, Virginia:  The 140-acre White Top burn is located ten miles east of Damascus, Va. and two miles north of U.S. Route 58. The prescribed fire area is adjacent to and southwest of Forest Road 89.  For your safety please follow posted signs and comply with trail closures when they occur. Residents of White Top, Troutdale and Konnarock, and travelers Forest Road 89 roads may see or smell smoke.

Each burn may take several days to complete. Residents may see and smell smoke, especially during the ignition phase of the burn. Residual smoke may settle in low lying areas during the evening and early morning hours. 

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 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 Mount Rogers Headquarters at (276) 783-5196, visit our website www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj, or follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/GWJNF1.

 

-USFS-





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/gwj/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD891177