(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The U.S. Forest Service is planning five prescribed fires this week in Allegheny National Forest this week.
A total of 140 acres will be burned in Warren and Forest counties. Those are fenced units within the Bradford Ranger District of the national forest.
The fires will be lit in the morning, and columns of smoke could be visible.
Prescribed fires are a forest management technique used to improve forest health, wildlife and ecosystems. According to a forest service news release, the fenced unit includes “desirable oak species” but also “a high amount of undesirable American beech saplings in the understory.”
“These prescribed fires will restore and maintain fire-adapted ecosystems and help to regenerate oak trees by reducing the number of shade-tolerant trees in the understory,” the new release said. “The burns will reduce the amount of dead and down fuels, recycle soil nutrients, and stimulate increased production of acorns and other mast crops that are the favorite food of many forest animals.”
Environmental factors — wind, humidity, temperature — are monitored to ensure safety, and the forest service follows seasonal restrictions and mitigates potential smoke impacts. Forest service crews prioritize the safety of the public and firefighters.
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Additional information about the prescribed fires is available on the InciWeb website.