HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – While much of Arkansas is closed due to icy conditions, officials with the Ouachita National Forest said they are planning to temporarily shut down because of fire.
Oklahoma Ranger Districts’ fire managers, who manage the forest, said they will be implementing several prescribed burns this spring which will require temporary closures to trails, campgrounds and roads within the Ouachita National Forest.
Officials said that prior notification of these burn days will be posted on the Ouachita National Forest’s Facebook page, and will include information on hiking trails, campground and road closures. Forest officials also said that larger, more complex and longer burns may also be announced by a news release.
Oklahoma Ranger Districts’ zone fire management officer Kris Wilson noted that the southern forests benefit from both dormant season and growing season burns.
“The preferred time to conduct these prescribed fire treatments is during winter and spring months,” Wilson said. “By re-introducing healthy fire back into the landscape, we are removing dead and down fuels, including fallen trees, and leaf and needle litter and drape.”
Wilson said that the prescribed burns can help prevent more dangerous and unpredictable wildfires.
“The occurrence of an unplanned, large wildland fire would result in a fire that is more intense and severe than our prescribed fire treatments,” Wilson said. “Prescribed burning on the landscape every three to five years mimics historic fire regimes and fire return intervals.”
More information on these prescribed burns can be found at FS.USDA.gov.