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    Wild horses on Cumberland Island. The National Park Service plans to conduct prescribed fire operations at Cumberland Island National Seashore as early as next week, according to a news release. Peg Davis/News-Leader

Prescribed fire planned for Cumberland Island National Seashore

The National Park Service plans to conduct prescribed fire operations at Cumberland Island National Seashore as early as next week, according to a news release. The date of the fire is determined by the appropriate weather conditions as indicated in the seashore’s burn plan prescription; as such, no specific date has been set for the burn; however, the window for conducting the burn operation begins Feb. 12 and will run through mid-July.

Cumberland Island National Seashore staff will employ prescribed fire in order to reduce hazardous fuels in the Wildland Urban Interface, reduce encroachment of woody species into cultural landscapes, and promote stimulation of grass and forbs. Prescribed fires will be started in two separate burn units as early as next week, conditions permitting. One grass field unit, and one unit of pine plantation will be the focus of the multi-agency effort, according to the release.

The prescribed fire will reduce hazardous fuels, in an effort to lessen the potential for wildfires to impact the residential population, campgrounds, and cultural resources of the island. These fires will stimulate and promote the growth of grasses in island fields and will help maintain cultural landscapes that are currently experiencing encroaching woody species.

Some disruptions to park operations could occur, such as campground closings or re-routing and delays of island tours. The staff will make every effort to communicate with the visiting public during the burn plan implementation, both at the park and through the park’s webpage, Facebook, and Twitter sites. Public safety is paramount. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/cuis and monitor the park’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cumberlandislandnps or Twitter @CumberlandIslNP

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