Controlled burn planned near Doughton Park

February 23, 2016

The National Park Service just released information about an upcoming controlled burn near Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Here is the release:

Controlled Burn Planned Near Doughton Park

(Sparta, NC) – As weather conditions permit, the National Park Service, NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) and NC State Parks plan to conduct a controlled burn along the Blue Ridge Parkway between Air Bellows Gap Road (Milepost 237.1) and Brinegar Cabin (Milepost 238.5) in Alleghany and Wilkes counties. This operation will occur sometime between February 23 and May 15, 2016. The prescribed fire is being coordinated by the NCWRC.

The burn will total 431 acres with 154 acres on the Blue Ridge Parkway, 202 acres in the Thurmond Chatham Game Land and 75 acres within Stone Mountain State Park.

The goals of this project, known as the “Air Bellows Gap Burn,” are to use fire to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations, improve wildlife habitat and restore a healthy fire-adapted forest community. Fire managers plan to use a series of low-intensity controlled burns, repeated over a number of years, to restore the composition and open structure of the oak and pine forests that occur within the site. These plant communities, which need occasional fires to thrive, are important to wildlife and overall ecosystem health. 

“We are excited to be working with our partners to accomplish this burn. This fire will benefit all three organizations by returning the land to a more natural vegetation type and will increase the quality of wildlife habitat,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods.

Burn activities may require closures between Milepost 234 at Cable Car Road and Milepost 242.4 at the Alligator Back Parking Overlook. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail will be closed during burning operations but through-hikers will be assisted through the area. Additional press releases will be issued as firing dates are established. Watch the Real-time Road Map for short-term closures at