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Newsdesk - 2018

September 19, 2018

Remember safety first during storm debris cleanup

RALEIGH – Hurricane Florence has resulted in damaged and downed trees and branches. The N.C. Forest Service is encouraging homeowners and anyone else looking to clean up after a storm to exercise caution and think safety first. Unless a damaged tree is a safety risk, tree removal decisions can come later after the storm cleanup. After a storm, hasty or emotional decisions about damaged trees can result in unnecessary removals or drastic pruning decisions. The following are some basic guidelines:

Debris cleanup

  • Cleaning up downed debris is fraught with safety risks including a debris field making for poor footing and potentially downed electric lines. If electrical wires are an issue, do not attempt tree work. Contact your utility company and let them remove the electrical wires. If you use a chainsaw, do so in accordance with the manufactures instructions. Work only on the ground and always wear personal protective equipment such as a hard hat and hearing and eye protection. Be aware of cutting any branches under tension or pressure.

Perform a general safety inspection of your trees

  • Is the soil around the base of the tree lifting or cracking? This may be an indication the tree may be falling over. Standing water, which often accompanies hurricanes, can cause additional stress and mortality.
  • Look up into the canopy of the tree. Are there any cracked, split or broken hanging branches?
  • These problems will need to be inspected and addressed by a qualified arborist.

Tree Pruning vs. Tree Removal

  • • Trees that have lost branches and are not an immediate hazard may be preserved with corrective pruning. This decision need not be made immediately and should wait until after the cleanup. Again, a qualified arborist should inspect the tree to assist you in making your decision.

Choose a qualified and insured tree service or consulting arborist. To find qualified arborists in your area, visit The International Society of Arboriculture , the American Society of Consulting Arborists , or the Tree Care Industry Association.

You can get more information and advice on proper tree care and tree assessment following a storm here and following the links to storm recovery under forest health. Additional advice on proper tree care can be found on the N.C. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program webpage or by calling 919-857-4842.

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August 29, 2018

Ribbon-cutting celebration planned for Sept. 6 for opening of Headwaters State Forest

A media tour of Headwaters State Forest will follow the ribbon cutting

RALEIGH-- N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, local leaders and partners with The Conservation Fund will officially open Headwaters State Forest Sept. 6 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Carolina Point Young Life Camp in Brevard. The event for the state's newest forest will take place at 2 p.m.

Speakers include former N.C. Congressman Charles Taylor; Michael Leonard, chairman of The Conservation Fund; Michael Murphy, Forest Legacy Program manager with the U.S. Forest Service; and Commissioner Troxler. "Protecting the Headwaters forest land is a tremendous accomplishment for our environment and state. I am proud our department is a partner in conserving and managing this valuable natural resource for generations to come," Troxler said. "Our forests and farmlands define our state, providing not only beauty to our landscape, but providing the essentials for life. Conservation of this important piece of property will go a long way in helping protect water quality in the headwaters of the French Broad River."

The nearly 6,730 acres of Headwaters State Forest will be managed by the N.C. Forest Service with help from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The property will be a working forest with opportunities for low-impact recreation such as fishing, hiking and hunting as a public game lands. Headwaters will also provide a platform for educating landowners and others on the principles of good forest stewardship.

The acquisition of the land began in 2009 when former N.C. Congressman Charles Taylor sought out partners interested in conserving the land. Recognizing the opportunity to provide North Carolinians with an ecologically and aesthetically important piece of land, the N.C. Forest Service, partnered with Conserving Carolina and The Conservation Fund to acquire the land. Funding for the acquisitions came through the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the former N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund and the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program, which is funded by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

"Persistence, dedication and partnership over the last nine years allowed for the vision of Headwaters State Forest to now become a reality," said Justin Boner, The Conservation Fund's real estate director for North Carolina. "Headwaters State Forest is a landscape that will benefit North Carolina’s economy and environment for generations to come, and we thank our elected officials for championing the effort to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and our state conservation trust funds."

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June 29, 2018

N.C. Forest Service seedling sales begin July 2

RALEIGH -- The North Carolina Forest Service Nursery Program will be accepting orders for seedlings on July 2. The NCFS produces about 16 million quality seedlings for nearly 50 species of conifers and hardwoods annually, including an expanded selection of control mass-pollinated loblolly pine seedlings. These seedlings offer superior growth, form and disease resistance due to solid nursery research and production experience.

"Trees are one of North Carolina’s greatest renewable resources and an important economic driver in North Carolina, contributing around $32.7 billion annually to the state's economy and provide more than 150,000 jobs for North Carolinians through the forest products industry," said N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

The NCFS nursery program has a large, reader-friendly catalog from which to order tree seedlings. Landowners can find information about the types of tree species, quantities and costs on the inside pages of the catalog. Each tree description includes information about ideal planting locations and whether a species is typically used to benefit wildlife, restore habitats, or as marketable timber.

Hardwoods are sold in quantities as low as 10 and conifers in quantities as low as 50. For those wishing to purchase larger orders, the nursery will continue to sell tree seedlings by the hundreds and thousands. Demand for these seedlings is up, so anyone interested in buying trees are encouraged to order early.

Distribution of seedlings will occur in the fall, depending on the weather conditions. Seedling orders are shipped to one of 13 locations statewide for a small fee or via UPS for a charge. For information on planting trees, people are encouraged to contact a local county ranger. Ranger contacts can be found on the contact page of the NCFS website.

Catalogs are available at a local NCFS office, which are located in all 100 North Carolina counties. The catalog is also available at the "Tree Seedlings & Nursery Program" link located at You can also visit the online seedling store at Seedlings can also be ordered by mail or order by phone at 1-888-NCTREES (1-888-628-7337). Seedlings can be ordered with a Visa or Mastercard. Just complete an order form and send it to Seedling Coordinator, 762 Claridge Nursery Road, Goldsboro, NC 27530.

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May 29, 2018

Heavy rains cause trail closures at DuPont State Recreational Forest

Cedar Mountain - North Carolina-officials at DuPont State Recreational Forest (DSRF) have determined that the recent heavy rains from Tropical Depression Alberto have made many of the Forest trails susceptible to damage from trail users.

Saturated trail surfaces will be muddy and foot traffic, bicycles and equestrian users will cause erosion issues and the trails to become rutted. There will be temporary closures of all DSRF single-track trails. Forest roads and graveled two-track trails such as High Falls Loop, Triple Falls Trail and Hooker Falls Trail will remain open.

"We want to protect the trails from damage so all of those who visit the Forest can enjoy them in the future,” said Jason Guidry, Forest Supervisor. “We ask that our trail users join us in being responsible for trail protection and perhaps plan to visit when conditions improve."

During your visit to DSRF, please pay attention to signage or barricades related to the trail closures. Trails will be reopened as soon as possible, with some trails becoming available to users before others, as conditions allow. Be aware that all trails, even those that are not closed, may have debris and muddy, slick conditions so use them at your own risk.

Forest officials expect conditions will improve enough for trail reopening by Friday, June 1.

Please refer to the DSRF website or the NCFS Facebook page for updates.

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May 8, 2018

DSRF Announces Temporary Trail Closures to Protect Blue Ghost Fireflies

DuPont State Recreational Forest (DSRF) will be closing part of the High Falls Loop Trail near the Visitor Center to prevent further impacts to blue ghost firefly populations. The closures will take place at night from approximately mid-May through early June. Visitors are welcome to explore and enjoy the forest at all access areas until 10 p.m., the official closing time of DSRF.

The temporary trail closures are in response to an overwhelming number of visitors during the recent Blue Ghost seasons, typically a 3-week period in late spring. Forest officials observed a high level of habitat disturbance and disruption by the large crowds, which could have long term impacts on the local populations of fireflies. Forest officials ask that the public observe trail closure signs and closed areas at all times.

“Our mission is to protect all forest resources, including the Blue Ghost habitat, so that everyone can continue to enjoy and benefit from these unique insects,” stated Jason Guidry, DSRF Supervisor. “The Blue Ghost fireflies are known to exist across the southern Appalachians. However, DuPont State Recreational Forest has become synonymous with the firefly through social media and news articles in recent years.”

In addition to informing the public about the temporary trail closures, the N.C. Forest Service wants the public to know that other public lands in neighboring counties are likely to offer viewing opportunities for the Blue Ghost Firefly without the crowding.

The Friends of DuPont Forest support the trail closures and habitat protection. “Our mission is to enhance the enjoyment of all that the forest has to offer while protecting its natural resources,” added Sara Landry, Executive Director of the Friends of DuPont Forest, “To support the N.C. Forest Service, the Friends recommend seeking out programs and viewing opportunities across our other local public lands.”

Information regarding the trail closures can be found at forest kiosks, at the DuPont State Recreational Forest Visitor Center, and on the DSRF website.

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April 16, 2018

Hooker Falls Access Area to get new restroom

CEDAR MOUNTAIN - DuPont State Recreational Forest (DSRF) will be improving visitor service by adding a permanent restroom near the Hooker Falls Access Area. The construction will start today, April 16th, and is expected to be completed by mid-August. The bathrooms are designed to handle more people and will be an improvement over the portable toilets currently at that location. The funding for the facility was made possible by the support of the Friends of DuPont Forest, the N.C. Legislature and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

During the construction, the upper lot at the Hooker Falls will be closed to facilitate the construction process. This is necessary to ensure public and worker safety. The lower lot will remain open but the configuration will be changed to accommodate construction traffic and better traffic flow for visitors. Holly Road Trail and Moore Cemetery Road Trail will be closed to the public during this construction.

“We are excited to offer our visitors a new level of comfort and convenience with the new restrooms. These facilities are our first new building construction project since 2008, adding to other improvements such as the pedestrian bridge and the Aleen Steinberg Center to keep pace with the public’s needs,” Jason Guidry, DSRF forest supervisor said.

The staff at DSRF is seeking the public’s assistance during this time and asks that you:

  • Do not park on the pavement or near “No Parking” signs.
  • Large vehicles will not be able to park in the Hooker Falls Access Area.
  • Avoid peak times to visit DSRF and note that other Access Areas are also likely to have limited parking spaces.
  • Do not park over the white lines of public highways within DSRF.
We appreciate your support of DSRF’s continual improvements and safeguarding of its natural resources.
For updates on the status of the Hooker Falls project, please visit and follow the links for DSRF.

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April 5, 2018

Bladen County Fire Update: Old House Bay Fire contained but smoke will linger

ELIZABETHTOWN – The 553-acre Old House Bay Fire, located east of the White Lake community in Bladen County, is now 100 percent contained. The N.C. Forest Service will still have firefighters on site today to mop-up any hot spots that are close to the fire line. There is still some interior burning of pockets of organic soil, as well as larger fuels such as stumps and logs. This will continue to produce a large amount of smoke for the next several weeks until the area receives adequate rainfall to fully extinguish these fuels. The fire will be monitored daily by the N.C. Forest Service until it is completely cold.

Residents need to be aware that smoke will still be a concern for driving conditions over the next several weeks, especially during the morning and evening hours. This could also be made much worse if there is fog. Depending upon wind direction, NC 41, NC 53, and NC 210 could be impacted. Drivers should avoid these areas if possible, allow extra time for traveling, and use their headlights for safety.

The N.C. Forest Service reminds residents to use fire responsibly, especially during spring fire season. People being careless with fire is the number one cause of wildfires in the state. March, April, and May are traditionally the worst months for wildfires in North Carolina.

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April 4, 2018

Wildfire burns more than 500 acres in Bladen County

ELIZABETHTOWN – The N.C. Forest Service has been working on a large wildfire near White Lake in Bladen County that started on April 2, 2018. Strong wind allowed the fire to grow to around 300 acres yesterday before fire lines were completed. Today, the N.C. Forest Service used strategic firing on about 250 acres to burnout fuels between fire lines and the main fire, which increased its footprint to approximately 553 acres and containment to about 50 percent. Today’s operations not only helped to strengthen containment lines, but was also the safest strategy for firefighters as the fire is burning in pocosin bays with thick vegetation.

Those near the wildfire, which is located near highways NC 53, NC 41, and NC 210, may notice the presence of smoke. The wildfire is burning in organic soils and some groundfire is present, which tends to smolder and smoke for extended periods of time. Local highways and communities may be impacted by the smoke. Depending on wind direction and a possible combination of fog, visibility on surrounding highways may be severely limited especially in the morning and evening hours. Residents are encouraged to avoid these areas as much as possible, and if they must drive in them to please use headlights, slower driving speeds, and allow extra time for their travels.

There were 24 firefighters from the N.C. Forest Service working today, and an additional 25 from volunteer fire departments and county emergency management. Firefighters will be back out tomorrow to do mop operations on hot-spots and improve containment lines.

No homes or structures are being threatened at this time. The cause of the wildfire is still under investigation.

March, April, and May are traditionally the worst months for wildfires in North Carolina and residents are encouraged to use caution when using fire.

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March 28, 2018

Be careful when burning debris in spring

Wildfire risk typically higher through May; burning debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires

RALEIGH – The N.C. Forest Service is urging residents across the state to think safety and exercise caution during the spring fire season, which typically lasts from March to May. “Careless debris burning is the No. 1 cause of wildfires,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “If you’re thinking about burning debris, contact your county forest ranger first. The ranger can offer technical advice and explain the best options to help maximize safety for people, property and the forest.” During the spring fire season, people do a lot of yard work that often includes burning leaves and yard debris. There are many factors to consider before doing any burning. Following are tips to protect property and prevent wildfires:

  • Consider alternatives to burning. Some yard debris, such as leaves and grass, may be more valuable if composted.
  • Check with your county fire marshal’s office for local laws on burning debris. Some communities allow burning only during specified hours; others forbid it entirely.
  • Make sure you have an approved burning permit, which can be obtained at any NCFS office, county-approved burning permit agent, or online.
  • Check the weather. Don’t burn if conditions are dry or windy.
  • Only burn natural vegetation from your property. Burning household trash or any other man-made materials is illegal. Trash should be hauled away to a convenience center.
  • Plan burning for the late afternoon when conditions are typically less windy and more humid.
  • If you must burn, be prepared. Clear a perimeter around the burn area of flammable materials.
  • Keep fire tools ready. To control the fire, you will need a hose, bucket, a steel rake and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire.
  • Never use flammable liquids such as kerosene, gasoline or diesel fuel to speed burning.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out. In North Carolina, human carelessness leads to more wildfires than any other cause.
  • These same tips hold true for campfires and barbeques, too. Douse burning charcoal briquettes or campfire thoroughly with water. When the coals are soaked, stir them and soak them again. Be sure they are out cold and carefully feel to be sure they are extinguished. Never dump hot ashes or coals into a wooded area.
  • Burning agricultural residue and forestland litter: In addition to the guidelines above, a fire line should be plowed around the area to be burned. Large fields should be separated into small plots for burning one at a time. Before doing any burning in a wooded area, contact your county ranger, who will weigh all factors, explain them and offer technical advice.

For more information on ways you can prevent wildfires and loss of property, visit our homepage

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January 22, 2018

Air operations training being held in Stanly County

Helicopter drops water from above

STANLY COUNTY - The N.C. Forest Service, in cooperation with the N.C. North Carolina National Guard and N.C. State Parks, is holding an Air Operations Functional Training at Camp John J. Barnhardt in New London, NC this week. Those in the area can expect to see helicopters flying over the area surrounding the camp and Morrow Mountain State Park Tuesday to Thursday.

During this training, students will learn the skills necessary to safely and effectively run an active helicopter base with multiple missions occurring at the same time. Helicopters are used in a variety of operations such as prescribed fires and wildfires. As part of this training students will also learn about the proper methods of connecting Bambi Buckets used to drop water on a fire, longline used to bring supplies to firefighters on the fire-line, and the use of aerial ignition devices. These devices dispense a plastic sphere, often referred to as a “ping-pong ball,” from a helicopter. Before launching the “ping-pong ball” from the helicopter, the device injects a liquid chemical into the sphere, which contains a dry chemical, causing a delayed chemical reaction resulting in an ignition after it lands in the area that fire managers wish to burn. These spheres are often used to light a backing fire to burn out forest fuel, such as underbrush and woody debris, between a fire-line and the main fire. They can also be used to light a prescribed fire in places difficult to access by foot but would benefit from a controlled burn.

Crews prepare for air ops training

Weather permitting, students will get a firsthand understanding of how the ignition devices work during prescribed fire activities being planned throughout the week on private woodlands close to Camp Barnhardt and Morrow Mountain State Park, near Albemarle. Combining these exercises with prescribed fires helps local N.C. Forest Service, and other prescribed fire cooperators, to complete some needed wildland fuel reduction work.

Lodging and lunches for the training is being provided by the North Carolina National Guard Training Center in New London. There are currently plans for a North Carolina Emergency Training Center in this location, the first of its kind in North Carolina. The center will also have a State Fire and Rescue Training Facility. The project is a joint venture between the N.C. North Carolina National Guard, the N.C. Office of State Fire Marshal and Stanly Community College.

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This page updated: Thursday, April 5, 2018 12:01

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