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National Park Service Plans Fire To Maintain Habitat in New River Gorge

Curtis Tate
A steep slope scorched by wildfire in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, on Dec. 10, 2021.

A prescribed burn will take place in the New River Gorge National Park and preserve.

Fire management officials plan to burn 14 acres of the park near the Grandview Visitors Center sometime between Friday and May 15.

Conditions such as wind speed and direction and humidity will factor into when the burn takes place. Park officials expect it to take several hours.

According to park officials, the purpose of the burn will be to preserve grassland habitat for a declining bird species.

Fire is an important part of forest management in the New River Gorge and other national parks. Many of them use fire to improve habitat and to clear away dry material that could ignite later.

In December, about 30 acres burned near the historic Nutallburg mining camp. It took firefighters from multiple states and other national parks several days to contain it.

Months before that fire, the National Park Service had cleared away brush and leaves near structures at the site, protecting them from damage.

Energy & Environment Reporter, ctate@wvpublic.org, 202-679-8470, @tatecurtis

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