Shenandoah unburned: Rain, humidity cancel planned Park fire

 A planned burn of 500 acres in the Jarman's Gap area of Shenandoah National Park that was to commence Sunday was canceled due to weather, says Park spokesperson Barb Stewart, who had announced the planned May 1 burn a few days earlier.

Park officials had hoped to set fires that would slowly burn downhill along Waynesboro-side mountain slopes– in order to reduce the buildup of potentially hazardous fuel on the forest floor and make way for native flora accustomed to occasional fires.

However, Sunday's combination of light rain and high humidity convinced Park officials that the resulting smoke would not disperse.

"They key phrase was 'weather permitting,'" says Stewart, "and, alas, the weather did not permit."

Stewart says officials hope to reschedule the burn this fall or next spring.


Original story posted April 29 at 11:41am:

500 acres: National Park begins prescribed burn Sunday

Shenandoah National Park officials want to alert the public that they plan to burn 500 acres near Jarman's Gap in the Park's south district on Sunday and Monday. The May 1 and 2 fires on the Waynesboro side of the Gap are designed to boost forest health and reduce the chance of wildfire, according to a Park release.

"The fire will mimic natural processes as much as possible," according to the release. "It will be lit in such a way that the fire will move fairly slowly down the ridges with low flames."

In recent years, such prescribed burns have become a routine part of forest maintenance as they reduce the buildup of potentially hazardous fuel on the forest floor and make way for native flora long accustomed to occasional fires.

The Park release notes that oak and pine– including such pine varieties as pitch, Virginia, and table mountain– will benefit from the fire.

During the burn, one trail will be closed to the public, Gasline Road.


Read more on: fireprescribed burn


The photo of the burn are ragged mountain was a good choice. One of the downsides of big developments like this is that all the native vegetation is removed and replaced with non-native grasses. It'd be great if the people of the neighborhoods affected by that fire decided to take a lesson from the experience, complete what nature started, and plant warm season grasses (like little bluestem) that can provide habitat for quail and other species in decline due to the loss of fire in our landscapes.

Probably one of the most wasteful uses of land is lawns and all the fertilizer they require. I agree Lonnie, I hope after the fire people in this development rethink unnatural lawns and return the land to native species.

burn baby burn. better watch the winds

If you see smoke today don't panic - as reported here a controlled burn is underway.