Burn slated for this week

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Foresters will begin this week burning sections of the Conecuh National Forest.

Michael Heard, district fire management officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said exactly when and which sections of the forest will be burned will depend on the weather.

“Right now the plan is to start Thursday with a section west of (State Hwy.) 137 near Blackwater Creek right on the Covington County line in the area we call Compartment 46,” Heard said. “It’s sort of west of the Falco community. We hope to be finished by Friday.”

Residents should be aware there is a possibility of smoke in the areas of State Hwy. 137 and 55 and U.S. Hwy. 29.

“These are what we call smoke sensitive areas,” he said. “When we burn, we try not to impact these areas, but the weather has a lot to do with it.”

Throughout the year, foresters plan to burn more than 20,000 acres of the 84,000-acre national forest.

“We do these controlled burns every year,” Heard said. “They help reduce the threat of wildfires and provide adequate habitats for wildlife and threatened and endangered species. We just ask that the public be patient during these times.”

Anyone living near the national forest may see smoke columns, reduced visibility in low-lying areas and additional traffic along Forest Service roads. If and when encountering smoke, drivers are asked to use their low beams.