Newsdesk - 2018
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.
For updates on the status of the Hooker Falls project, please visit ncforestservice.gov 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
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.
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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