RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and the N.C. Forest Service plan to conduct multiple prescribed burns at Lake James State Park in late February through April. According to Park Superintendent Nora Coffey, the specific dates of the burns will depend on local weather conditions.
The prescribed burns will be conducted on approximately 355 acres at the park’s Catawba River Area and the Paddy’s Creek Area near the swim beach parking lot and portions of the Mill’s Creek Trail. Some visitor areas and trails may be temporarily closed during the prescribed burns. Under a detailed fire management plan, prescribed fire gradually will be introduced on about 2,000 acres at Paddy’s Creek in coming years.
Prescribed burns are used as a resource management tool in many locations by the state parks system. Some plant communities and animal species rely on periodic fire for their existence. The prescribed burns also reduce the amount of potential wildfire fuel and help protect a park’s resources and neighboring landowners if lightning, arson or carelessness sparks a wildfire.
In order to minimize smoke and assure the fire is controlled, the low-intensity, prescribed burn will only be carried out under strictly defined weather conditions of a fire management plan. On the selected day, the burn will begin in the late morning and will likely end by mid-afternoon.