Planned burns, up to 500+ acres, set for Big South Fork

ONEIDA, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The National Park Service (NPS) announced several prescribed burns for Big South Fork National River and Recreation area. According to the NPS, the fires remove layers of dead and downed trees that inhibit plant growth. It also credits the burns with increasing diversity among plant and animal life.

The largest of the planned burns will occur in western Fentress Co. and will cover around 520 acres along the park's boundary, near the Timber Ridge Horse Camp. The only other scheduled fire in East Tennessee will take place in Scott Co. where 38 acres of field and forest in the Bandy Creek area will be burned.

All of the burns will occur in February and March when weather permits, the NPS said. Up to 25 firefighters and several engines will be on hand for each burn and all nearby roads will be closed for safety.

Since 2004, the Big South Fork's Fire Management Plan has worked to restore the natural role of fire in the ecosystem with a long term plan.

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