The USDA Forest Service will begin conducting prescribed burns in Bath, Alleghany and Botetourt Counties between March and mid-May. Prescribed burns improve wildlife habitat by restoring open woodlands and grasslands to the forest landscape.
Safety is the Forest Service’s top priority, and Forest Service fire managers will conduct prescribed burns in the following areas only under appropriate weather conditions.
- Alleghany and Botetourt Counties – The 897-acre Tri-County burn area is located 1.5 miles southwest of Longdale Furnace and six miles southeast of Clifton Forge. Forest Service fire managers will work in partnership with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation on this prescribed burn. Blue Suck Run Trail, Yaccrs Run Trail, Tri-County Road, and Longdale Road may be temporarily closed.
The prescribed burn is expected to have lingering smoke effects in the Longdale Furnace area and along Interstate 64 and US 60. Depending on wind direction, residents and travelers in these areas may see or smell smoke.
- Botetourt County – The 2,250-acre Patterson Mountain prescribed burn area is located on and around Patterson Mountain. The prescribed burn will take place between Patterson Mountain and Patterson Creek Road. Smoke is expected to be visible from multiple locations in Botetourt and Roanoke Counties. Depending on wind direction, residents in Eagle Rock and Glen Wilton may smell smoke.
- Craig and Botetourt Counties – The 1,469-acre Caldwell Mountain prescribed burn area is located on the southeast-facing slope of Broad Run Mountain and lies on the Craig and Botetourt County line. Smoke may be visible to the residents of Daleville, Troutville, Fincastle, Roanoke, Catawba and New Castle. Smoke may also be visible to those traveling along Route 220 and Interstate 81. Depending on wind direction, residents in the Catawba Creek Valley located near the Town of Fincastle may smell smoke.
- North Mountain – The 728-acre prescribed burn area is located on the north side of North Mountain. Smoke may be visible to the residents of Fincastle, Daleville, Troutville and the Roanoke Valley. Depending on wind on the day of the burn, residents of Catawba Valley adjacent to Fincastle and residents of Craig Creek Valley may smell smoke.
- Bald Mountain – The prescribed burn area includes two units (1,611 acres and 2,383 acres). This burn area is directly adjacent to the Fenwick Mines Recreation Area. Visitors to the Fenwick Mines Recreation Area may see and smell smoke on the day of the prescribed fire. Smoke from both units may be visible from New Castle, Barbours Creek and Oriskany. Depending on wind direction on the day of the burn, residents of Oriskany and the Craig Creek Valley along Route 615 (Craig Creek Road) may smell smoke.
Experienced fire managers will closely monitor local weather conditions, such as wind and humidity, and adjust the schedule as needed to ensure the safety of both crewmembers and local residents. Prior to lighting the burn, crews construct and designate firebreaks to ensure the fire does not leave the burn area. The burn will mimic historic natural fire as much as possible. Some individual trees will burn, but the fire should travel mostly across the forest floor.