Controlled Burns Planned at South Carolina State Parks

January 10

Six state to be treated this winter and spring

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Jan. 10 – This winter and/or early spring, federal and state fire crews plan to treat several thousand acres at state parks across South Carolina with controlled burns. The project aims to reduce forest fuels that can cause wildfire and to improve habitat conditions for wildlife and recreation.

Controlled burns will be treating approximately:

  • 300 acres at Oconee State Park,
  • 75 acres at Table Rock State Park,
  • 40 acres at Devils Fork State Park,
  • 22 acres at Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site,
  • 715 acres at Aiken State Park and
  • 2,000 acres at Cheraw State Park.

“These parks have seen 75 years of fire suppression with years of accumulated combustible fuels,” said Duane Parrish, Director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. “Controlled burns help us remain committed to the stewardship of our natural communities and the service we provide to park visitors.”

The Duke Foundation has committed $35,000 to the project for most of the state parks in the Upstate.

“Duke Energy supports local initiatives like the prescribed burn program that help protect and restore wildlife and natural resources in South Carolina,” said Linda Hannon, government and community relations manager for Duke Energy. “The recent fires across the Western Carolinas showed just how important it is to reduce the fuels that can feed these dangerous, unplanned events. Reintroducing fire back to Upstate parks will help restore the land to a more natural, sustainable and predictable environment.”

Safety is the primary concern during these controlled burns. The fire experts assigned to the burns are highly trained and have years of experience protecting communities, themselves and the land they are working to restore. Experienced fire specialists will closely monitor local weather conditions, such as wind, temperature, and humidity, making adjustments in the schedule as needed to ensure the safety of local residents and crew members. Prior to lighting the burns, crews construct firebreaks to ensure the fire does not leave the burn area. The burns will mimic historic natural fires as much as possible.

Trails and roads in and around the parks can be affected during burns. Any closures will be temporary and clearly posted. Because the scheduling of controlled burns is entirely dependent on weather conditions, immediate advance notice is provided only to local fire and law enforcement officials.

Immediately after a controlled burn, the area can look raw and desolate- but it is only temporary, as new shoots soon green up the forest floor within as little as a few days or weeks.

For more information about controlled burns in Upstate parks, contact Dawn Dawson-House at ddawson@scprt.com or 803-734-1779. To learn more about other controlled burns on SC State Parks this season, follow this link. To learn more about controlled burning throughout South Carolina, visit the S.C. Forestry Commission’s website at www.state.sc.us/forest/mpb.htm.

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