A MarshMaster amphibious vehicle drives along the edge of a mowed firebreak while conducting a prescribed burn of the marsh vegetation. Photo by USFWS/Sarah Toner

A prescribed burn is planned for Friday, March 1, at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, per a recent update from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in North Carolina.

“The goals of the burn are to improve wildlife habitat by promoting new marsh growth and to reduce fuel loading to protect infrastructure,” stated USFWS in an update. “Drivers on NC 12 may see smoke and firefighting vehicles – Please drive safely!”

Image from (USFWS) in North Carolina

Smoke will likely be visible throughout northern Hatteras Island, including the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo.

Though the burn should not affect traffic, travelers should stay vigilant when driving through Pea Island, and should watch for possible light smoke on N.C. Highway 12.

Prescribed burns within the refuges serve multiple purposes, depending on the time of year. Generally occurring in the spring and fall, the burns can enhance protection against wildfires, control vegetation, and create more desirable habitats for migratory birds.

One of the purposes of a late winter or springtime burn is to create a “safe zone” so that if a wildfire occurs and moves south, there is a break in the landscape that will give firefighters time to stop the wildfire before it impacts residences and structures in northern Hatteras Island villages.

The spring is also an ideal time to do the prescribed burns, as the northeastern wind direction ensures that the fire and smoke generally stays off of the highway. With light eastern winds around 10 mph forecast for Friday, the conditions are currently optimal for the operation.

Prescribed burns clear vegetation and promote fire safety within the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Joy Crist.

 

The post Prescribed burn planned at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge appeared first on Island Free Press.

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