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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good Fire .... Bad Fire

Smell smoke? It’s fire.

By Tracy Agnew Published Suffolk News Herald
10:53pm Tuesday, February 1, 2011
If you smell smoke during the next several months, don’t panic — it could just be from a controlled burn at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
Staff at the refuge will be conducting prescribed burns as part of the refuge resource and fuels management program. The burns help maintain forest health and reduce the amount of fuel available for an unwanted fire.
“While smoke from these prescribed burns may be noticeable for several days, depending on the size of the burn and the wind direction, the long-term goal is to reduce the chances of communities having to deal with weeks or months of smoke,” Refuge Manager Chris Lowie said in a press release.
He referred to the refuge’s wildfire of 2008, which was sparked by logging equipment on June 9 and burned until late September. At 121 days, it was the longest-burning wildfire in Virginia’s history. It was one of the most expensive, as well, with costs that exceeded $11 million.
The smoke from that fire affected residents throughout Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina, depending on wind speed and direction.
The upcoming burns will be conducted by trained personnel following approved plans. Swamp personnel are assisted by other federal, state and local agencies, including the Virginia Department of Forestry and the North Carolina Forest Service.
The burns are dependent upon short and long-term weather conditions, the potential wildfire threat and other ongoing wildfires in the region.
The pine forests in the swamp require the periodic use of fire, Lowie said in the press release. The burns aim to protect the historic landscape and natural resources and prevent nearby private property from being affected if an unwanted fire does break out.
For more information, call the swamp headquarters at 986-3705.

114 wildfires reported over weekend in SC

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina forestry officials say there were 114 wildfires statewide during the past weekend.
Forestry Commission spokesman Scott Hawkins said in a news release Monday that more than 540 acres burned between Jan. 28-30, causing more than $94,000 worth of property damage across South Carolina.
Commission forest protection chief Darryl Jones says it is an indication that the state can expect a busier than usual fire season, which typically starts in late winter.

Three Steps to Protect Your Forest

Support Good Fires, Prevent Bad Ones

Prescribed fires, planned and professionally managed, clear underbrush and renew habitats. With prescribed fires, wildlife thrives and wildfires are prevented.
See more about good fires in your area at

Champion Conservation

Our forests provide clean water and air, essential natural resources and wildlife habitats. Do your part to champion the conservation of forestland. For seven simple ways you can help, click here.

Leave No Trace

Our forests are places of beauty and peace. You can help preserve the wonder of unspoiled nature by practicing Leave No Trace hiking and camping. Learn how at

Watch the video below and see what a fire crew from Pulaski VA does to help Smokey Bear and the citizens of the county.

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