Forest Service to Conduct Prescribed Burn on Bearpen Mountain

Release Date: Jan 24, 2012

Contact(s): Stevin Westcott, (828) 257-4215

PISGAH FOREST, N.C. -- The USDA Forest Service today announced that it will conduct a 1,200-acre prescribed burn in the Bearpen Mountain area of the Pisgah Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, in February or March 2012.

The Forest Service will implement the prescribed burn to reduce woody debris in the forest, which will help prevent catastrophic wildfires. The prescribed burn will also improve wildlife habitat.

The prescribed burn will take two to three days to complete and will be confined to Bearpen Mountain. The southern end of the burn will be Hwy 276 at the intersection of Avery Creek Road, extending to the intersection of Coontree Loop Trail and Hwy 276. The northern portion of the burn is Coontree Gap. The burn area will be contained by Avery Creek, Hwy 276, and Coontree Loop and Bennett Gap trails.

The safety of the public and firefighters is the number one priority. The Forest Service will notify the public when the decision is made to conduct the burn. The Forest Service will close these trails and Avery Creek Road the day before the prescribed burn occurs. The public is asked to heed signs posted at trailheads and roads and to stay away from burn sites and closed roads and trails. 

Prescribed fire is a valuable wildlife and forest management tool. Many ecosystems throughout North Carolina include fire-adapted species. Numerous native plants and animals need fire in their habitats to reduce competition from invading species, and to add nutrients back into the soil. 

Prescribed burns can reducebuildup of shrubs and dead wood. Burning the same tract of land on a rotation of every three to seven years reduces the buildup of vegetation (fuel), decreasing the chance of severe wildfire.

Prescribed burning also helps support strategic goals of restoring ecological systems to their natural resilience, restoring native vegetation, and protecting people and resources from catastrophic fires.

For more information on fire management by theNational Forests in North Carolina, visit click on “Fire and Aviation Information.” Sign up to receive alerts by email concerning prescribed fires at

For further information, contact the Pisgah Ranger District at 828-877-3265.