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North Carolina Prescribed Fire Council brings together fire managers, scientist

NORTH CAROLINA — The Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists joined the North Carolina Prescribed Fire Council for a third year to co-host their annual meeting. This year’s meeting was held in the mountains of North Carolina and the theme was Advancing Controlled burning after the 2016 Historic Wildfire Season. 

The two-day meeting included a full day of indoor presentations followed by a full day of field trips. Presentation highlights included “The Benefits of having Great Fire Research on Managed Lands,” “Prescribed Burning Impacts on Air Quality Forecasting,” and “Effective Prescribed Fire Communication.” Helen Mohr, Southern Research Station Forester and Director of CAFMS gave presentations on “New Public Outreach, Research and Learning Opportunities since the 2016 Southern Appalachian Fire Season” and “Fuels and Vegetation Response to Fire.” SRS Research Ecologist Katie Greenberg led a discussion on Wildlife Impacts.

Day two began with a tour of Green River Game Lands near Hendersonville, NC. The Green River Game Lands is a state-owned tract of more than 10,000 acres of rugged landscape of old-growth and mixed hardwoods set aside for wildlife conservation and management. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission, a valued SRS partner, manages the Green River Game Lands and has been the host of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study on their lands since 2000. The study is the longest running fire effects research in all the Appalachians and it has produced more than 120 publications from fuels effects to wildlife. This research is critical is helping support fire management decisions on the ground across the entire Appalachian range.

A second field trip led by North Carolina State Parks toured the site of the 2016 Party Rock Fire in Lake Lure, NC. Participants heard from the Lake Lure fire chief, state parks personnel, NC Forest Service personnel, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, and Dean Simon, retired Wildlife Biologist and Forester from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

The mission of the North Carolina Prescribed Fire Council is to foster cooperation among all parties in North Carolina with an interest or stake in prescribed fire. The annual meeting rotates each year between the coast, piedmont and mountains of North Carolina.

Helen Mohr, SRS foster gives tour of the Green River Game Lands in Hendersonville, NC during the North Carolina Prescribed Fire Council annual meeting. Photo courtesy of Brady Beck, NC Wildlife Resources Commission.