Controlled burn scheduled at Shenandoah National Park

With the spring fire season in full swing, Shenandoah National Park is set to perform a bit of routine maintenance at Big Meadows with a prescribed burn.

During a period between April 13 and May 15, the park will burn 35 acres of the eastern portion of Big Meadows.

Park Public Affairs Officer Karen Beck-Herzog said that Big Meadows Visitor Center and “all of the developed pieces” will remain open during the burn.

“It’s just actually that 130-acre meadow that’s across Skyline Drive from all of that development … where visitors will be restricted,” Beck-Herzog said.

According to Beck-Herzog, the burn will help maintain the meadow as “an open space.”

When the conditions are suitable, Beck-Herzog said park crews will ignite the burn, which is expected to take one day to complete.

“We have to meet certain conditions … things can’t be too dry and they can’t be too wet, they can’t be too windy,” Beck-Herzog said.

During that month-long period, Beck-Herzog said, park fire management officers will be monitoring additional aspects such “field moisture” as well as the progression of the weather.

Beck-Herzog said the decision to burn can even change the morning of if the park is “out of prescription.” Essentially, this means “some of the conditions are no longer favorable for a prescribed burn.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com