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Fighting Fire With Fire – Prescribed Burns In Sandstone Park

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Many residents may have seen fire and smoke off the highway on Thursday morning, but there’s nothing to worry about … The National Park Service had it all under control.

David Bieri, the Public Information Officer, told us, “So today we’re conducting a prescribed fire here at Sandstone Visitor Center, and we do this once a year. The main reason for the fire is to help us maintain this grassland, native ecosystem that we’ve got around here at the visitor center.”

Prescribed fires, carefully managed under controlled conditions, only benefit our wildlife by burning the non-native species that could cause infestation and ultimately lead to even one more deadly risk – wildfire.

Tom Scott, Chief of the Green Sulphur District Fire Department, said, “In case you do have a fire… it’s easier to do grass than it is to do dryer and thick brush and stuff like that, so it helps. It makes our job easier, in case, we have to respond.”

“And one of the neat things about an event like this, is it gives us some practice time to train with these partner agencies. An event that’s planned ahead of time, as opposed to being out in an emergency. Working with these groups gives us a chance to work with them and train a little bit,” Bieri added.

These prescribed burns usually take place any time between February and May – whenever the weather permits. Since today’s weather is extremely dry and warm and its been two days since our last rain storm, its a perfect opportunity to egnite these prescribed fires.

The National Park Service and its partner agencies have several other planned fires throughout the state in the next couple of weeks.

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Rebecca Fernandez

Rebecca Fernandez joined Newswatch as a Reporter in February, and was quickly promoted to Weekend Anchor, and has come all the way from Florida to pursue her on-air career in Southern West Virginia! Read More