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Forest Service plans controlled burn this week in Wythe

Forest Service plans controlled burn this week in Wythe

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Location: The 1,098-acre Horse Heaven prescribed burn is located three miles south of Speedwell and east of U.S. Route 21. The prescribed fire area is adjacent to and north of Forest Road 14.

Date and Time: The Forest Service plans to begin ignitions the week of April 6th, 2021, weather conditions permitting. Burning is expected to occur over one to two days. Firefighters will continue to monitor the area for several days after the burn.

Objective: Prescribed burns improve wildlife habitat by restoring open woodlands and grasslands to the forest landscape. Prescribed burns also keep the public and homes safe by reducing the buildup of dried leaves and wood in nearby forest land that can lead to uncontrolled wildfires.

Temporary Closures: The Virginia Highlands Horse Trail (Trail # 337) lies within the prescribed fire area and will be temporarily closed during the burn for Public Safety. Forest Service Trail #4617 will remain open but may be impacted by smoke. The following Forest Service Roads (FSR) will also be closed for the duration of the burn: FSR 14B, FSR 14G, FSR 1501, and Forest Heaven Road (FSR 787). These roads will reopen when fire managers determine its safe again for public travel. CC Camp Road (FSR 14) will temporarily be closed during active ignitions along the roadside. As soon as its safe FSR 14 will be reopened for public travel. Public using Forest Service roads are cautioned to slow down, drive defensively, and be prepared to encounter firefighters and equipment along with smoke along the roadway.

Smoke: Residents of Speedwell, Cripple Creek, and Wytheville, Virginia may see or smell smoke. Smoke is expected to move east – southeast towards the communities of Ivanhoe, Fancy Gap, and Independence, Virginia. Smoke impacts in the area are expected to be marginal throughout the day. Nighttime smoke is expected to impact the communities of Elk Creek, Fairville, Galax, Independence and Speedwell.

For your safety and the safety of firefighters please follow posted signs and comply with trail closures when they occur. Depending on wind direction, this prescribed burn may have lingering smoke effects.

Additional Information: For additional information visit Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/7360/59091/.

For more information on our prescribed burn program, please contact the Mount Rogers Headquarters at (276) 783-5196, visit our website www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj, or follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/GWJNF1.

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