Here’s the message from the Western North Carolina Alliance via the nonprofit environmental group’s email newsletter:
The U.S. Forest Service is in the process of developing a proposal on fire management in Linville Gorge.
The scoping period for the project is open until Jan. 15.
Controlled burn in Linville Gorge/Gary Kauffman
The Western North Carolina Alliance supports efforts to allow natural fires to burn in and around Linville Gorge, as long as the safety of human lives and property can be assured.
In the likely event that some natural fires are suppressed because of concern for human health and safety, we endorse the use of prescribed fire as a surrogate.
Our endorsement stems from the following beliefs:
There are rare and endangered species at Linville Gorge that require fire for survival.
There are many other species and several ecosystems at Linville Gorge that benefit from fire.
Fire is an important natural process.
The fire suppression of the past 100 years has been harmful.
Suppression of natural fire ignitions is against the spirit of Wilderness.
Hearing from the public will help the Forest Service develop alternatives that consider any issues voiced by the public.
The Alliance encourages people with an interest in Pisgah National Forest to study the issues and comment on the Linville Gorge Wilderness Prescribed Fire Scoping, whether they support fire in the Wilderness or not.
You can find the scoping for the Linville Gorge Prescribed Fire Proposal here.
Read the Alliance’s full statement on this issue here.