Nature Conservancy Launches Southeast Coastal Plain Controlled Burn Season
Burns in Brunswick, Pender and Bladen counties planned between now and the end of March
Wilmington | January 16, 2014
This week The Nature Conservancy launched its 2014 controlled burn season with a successful 30-acre burn at its Green Swamp Preserve in Brunswick County. The Conservancy hopes to burn 2,500 acres in Brunswick, Pender and Bladen counties between now and the end of March. The Conservancy burn crew will also assist partners in burns on non-Conservancy lands.
“We’ve got a great burn crew,” says Burn Boss Angie Carl. “We’re ready to go and hope the weather gives us a fantastic year. Burning is great for the plants and animals; it also benefits people – reducing the likelihood of wildfires.”
Much of the coastal plain contains plants and animals that need regular fire to thrive. Fire was once common across the area. In ancient times, burns caused by lightning strikes were common. In later times, those natural fires were augmented by Native Americans who understood the need for fire. But, in the last century, the emphasis was on fire suppression. Without routine fire, plants such as longleaf pine, Venus flytraps and native orchids – and the animals that live in the forest – declined. Fuel load also built up in the forest, leading to hard-to-control wildfires that threatened nearby communities.
Today, The Nature Conservancy uses fire as part of its restoration work across the area as do many of its partners including the military, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina Forest Service, N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and Orton Plantation. Last year, the Conservancy burned 2,000 acres on its preserves and assisted with another 9,000 on partner lands in the southeast coastal plain.
The Conservancy will extend its controlled burn window in 2014. In past years, the burn teams have only worked from January through March. Thanks to a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation, another crew will burn from May through August.
You can follow the 2014 fire season with this map (Google login required).
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org