A prescribed burn of 791 acres is scheduled at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Friday, February 26, per a recent update from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in North Carolina.
“The latest forecast indicates rain should hold off until after 4 p.m.,” stated the update. “If correct, we should be able to complete the burn prior to the weather deteriorating. We expect to ignite a test fire along the southwest corner of the unit, directly adjacent to parts of yesterday’s burn. The test should start before 10:30 a.m.”
The burn is taking place on the north end of the refuge, from Oregon Inlet south to the North Pond, and crews will be working along N.C. Highway 12. Though the burn should not affect traffic, travelers should stay vigilant when driving through Pea Island on Friday, and should watch for possible light smoke on the highway.
Friday marks the second burn this week, as the USFWS also conducted a prescribed burn of 766 acres on Thursday.
“Yesterday’s burn went very well. We were able to carry fire into the brushy areas better than we had expected,” stated the USFWS in the social media update. “Coverage approached 50%, and we were able to avoid any large sweeping head fires, resulting in an overall mosaic of burned and unburned fuels that should promote habitat and landscape diversity, while significantly reducing hazardous fuels.”
Prescribed burns within the refuges serve multiple purposes, depending on the time of year. Generally occurring in the spring and fall, the burns can enhance safety in case of a future wildfire, control vegetation, and create more desirable habitats for migratory birds.