Forest Service begins burns [With map]

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 24, 2014


Prescribed burns will take place at Alabama’s four national forests — including Conecuh National Forest — over the next six months, U.S. Forest Service officials said Thursday.

Conecuh National Forest is planning to burn 30,000 acres in Escambia and Covington counties, and began the work this week. District Ranger Tim Mersmann said the Forest Service burned 2,500 acres in Escambia County “by hand” this week, but will have the helicopter in to burn in the next few months. At present, he said, it’s too dry to continue.

The U.S. Forest Service will burn on the Conecuh National Forest every day conditions are suitable during this period—generally about 30 days total during the prime burning season. Mersmann said.

Prescribed fire (controlled burn) is an annual management tool to improve plant and animal habitat and overall forest health to withstand natural disturbances such as drought, insects and diseases.

The controlled burns also aim to reduce the build-up of hazardous fuels that could feed wildfires that threaten communities located near national forests.

Anyone living near the national forest may see smoke columns, reduced visibility in low-lying areas and additional traffic along Forest Service roads.

Drivers are asked to use their low beam lights if they encounter smoke on the road.

Maps that highlight prescribed burn areas can be viewed on the Forest Service website at