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Environmental and controlled burns extended

The local community should not be alarmed if they see large plumes of smoke coming from Pine Bluff Arsenal from today until March 17.

The Nature Conservancy’s Arkansas field office and the Arsenal’s Fire and Emergency Services will both be conducting multiple prescribed and controlled burns during this time.

These burns serve as an environmental benefit, not only to reduce wildfire risk by removing fuel levels and loading from the forest floor, but also act as timber stand and wildlife habitat improvements.

The planning of controlled burns includes safety plans, smoke management plans, and fire intensity levels to include flame heights and flame speeds.

All controlled burns will be conducted by specially-trained and equipped crews skilled at fire management operations.

Prescribed and controlled burns provide for plant and animal community diversity by encouraging the regeneration of oak-hickory forest communities and associated herbaceous and shrub species adjacent to the barren communities.

Without active management, native plant species of the barrens and woodland communities at these sites will be suppressed and become out-competed by more aggressive shade-tolerant species. Many rare plant species identified at Pine Bluff Arsenal are dependent on fire to survive.