Controlled Burn Put on Hold Due to Shutdown

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

WOODSTOCK, Va. (WHSV) -- The government shut down has put plans on hold here in the Valley.

Due to the shutdown, a controlled burn planned to start Tuesday at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park has been postponed until further notice.

Shenandoah Valley Area Forester Justin Barnes works for the Virginia Department of Forestry. A state funded organization, which will not be affected by the government shutdown.

Barnes said the Valley is home to forest service lands, federal lands and park service lands.

"As well as a lot of private land holdings. So we work with the everyday person that has any property that they own," said Barnes.

Since no one can live on federal park land, the Department of Forestry is up and running to keep you safe.

"We do a lot of risk assessment with land holders that are building in the woods and try to help them so their lands are less at risk if and when there is a fire," said Barnes.

Fire season starts October 15 and ends on November 30.

Barnes said these prescribed fires are planned before that time and are important to the ecosystem.

"To improve wildlife habitat, improve forest health, the understory growths, to kill invasives. So it's a tool that we can use to positively impact the way that we manage our forests," said Barnes

During fire seasons, Barnes works hand in hand with local fire departments contain any unplanned fires whether the National Park Service is open or not.

"We have equipment, tractors, or our pickup trucks with water in them. Or we'll go out and bulldoze lines to contain those fires," said Barnes

The National Park's Assistant Fire Management Officer John Frye said he only has until October 15th to start the burn, otherwise they'll have to wait until next year.

Frye said sometimes they have to postpone the burns anyways because conditions are either too dry or too wet.

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