Controlled burn planned in Balsam mountains

Mar 29, 2014
Photo by: File photo

The N.C. Forest Service will be conducting a prescribed fire, also known as a control burn, within the Balsam Mountains of Haywood County at the beginning of next week.

The 500-acre control burn is part of a community protection plan designed to reduce wildfires in the area and protect homes in the area by reducing the amount of forest fuel on the ground.

The area to be burned is at about 5,800 feet in elevation and directly adjacent to Balsam Gap within Haywood County. The property, which is owned by The Conservation Fund along with Major Land and Timber, is visible from the Waynesville and Maggie Valley. Residents in the area, and around Haywood County, will likely see some smoke from the burn.

“The NCFS is glad to be able to assist The Conservation Fund and Major Land and Timber to promote a healthier forest,” said Dwayne Vigil, Haywood County Ranger.

In addition to reducing the amount of forest fuels in the area, the control burn will be an opportunity to enhance silviculture and promote wildlife. The prescribed burn has also allowed Haywood Community College students to assist preparing the site and learn what is required for a control burn to take place.

Prescribed fire is the planned use of fire under predetermined weather and fuel parameters to obtain specific management objectives. Prescribed burning is a critical management tool that benefits North Carolina's forests, wildlife and environment, and also helps in reduce the impact of wildfire hazards. The North Carolina Forest Service and its partners train, plan and coordinate with local fire services before a prescribed fire is started, and ensure that all burning regulations are obeyed.

For more information on this prescribed fire or to learn about any of the programs and services offered by the N.C. Forest Service, contact Vigil at 828-627-6551 or visit us online at

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