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NCFS

Newsdesk - 2024


March 4, 2024

North Carolina's educational state forests transition to summer hours of operation


RALEIGH -- North Carolina’s educational state forests (ESFs) are shifting from the winter schedule to summer hours of operation. With this transition, ESFs resumed weekend operations and visitation hours March 1. Summer hours will remain in effect through Oct. 31. Forest hours of operation are:

  • Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays and designated state holidays except Good Friday and Independence Day.

During summer hours of operation, ESFs also welcome school groups, scouts and others to schedule educational programs covering a variety of topics such as forestry, water, soil and wildlife. A minimum of 10 students are required for educational programs with forest staff. Programs can accommodate as many as 100 students.

For forest contact information and to learn more about forest programming and amenities, visit https://www.ncesf.org/.

 

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Feb. 26, 2024

N.C. Forest Service urging residents to know when, where and how to safely burn outdoors


RALEIGH -- March will officially cue the start of spring wildfire season in North Carolina, and the N.C. Forest Service is urging residents to use caution with all outdoor fires, especially yard debris burns.

The N.C. Forest Service responded to more than 5,300 wildfires across North Carolina in 2023, with escaped debris burns as the leading cause.

“Last year, 99% of wildfires in our state were directly related to human activity,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This means that most of our wildfires could have been prevented. Before choosing to burn yard debris, make sure you have a valid burn permit, check the weather and avoid burning on dry, windy days. You are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing wildfires.”

Spring weather tends to draw people outdoors to work in their yards and many choose burning as a method to dispose of leaves, limbs and other yard debris.

“During the spring season, fires can spread quickly,” said North Carolina State Forester David Lane. “Your N.C. Forest Service county ranger is a resource and can provide guidance about when, where and how to burn safely outdoors. Contact your local NCFS county ranger’s office before starting an outdoor fire.”

The N.C. Forest Service also offers the following tips:

  • Check local burning laws. Some communities allow burning only during specified hours. Others forbid it entirely.
  • Make sure you have a valid permit. You can obtain a burn permit at any N.C. Forest Service office or authorized permitting agent, or online at www.ncforestservice.gov/burnpermit.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. Don’t burn on dry, windy days.
  • Local fire officials can recommend a safe way to burn debris. Don’t pile vegetation on the ground. Instead, place it in a cleared area and contain it in a screened receptacle away from overhead branches and wires.
  • Be sure you are fully prepared before burning. To control the fire, you will need a hose, bucket, steel rake and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire. Keep a phone nearby, too.
  • Never use kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel or other flammable liquids to speed up debris burning.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out.

To learn more about fire safety and preventing wildfires and loss of property, refer to Fire Safety Outdoors. For information about creating defensible space and a fire-resistant landscape around your home and property, visit www.resistwildfirenc.org. Contact information for county rangers with the N.C. Forest Service is available online at www.ncforestservice.gov/contacts.

 

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Feb. 14, 2024

N.C. Forest Service to conduct prescribed burn in Reynolda area of Winston-Salem


WINSTON-SALEM -- The N.C. Forest Service is planning to conduct a 14-acre prescribed burn in the historic Reynolda area of Winston-Salem in Forsyth County. This operation will be conducted Thursday, Feb. 15, or Friday, Feb. 16, as weather and conditions permit. The burn will help minimize impacts from invasive species such as tree of heaven, overgrown weeds and other undesirable grasses, improving the habitat for a variety of wildlife species and the overall health of the meadow.

Prescribed fire is the carefully planned use of fire under strict, predetermined weather and fuel parameters to obtain specific management objectives. This is a critical management tool that benefits forests and wildlife and helps reduce the impacts of wildfire hazards.

Smoke impacts during the burn should be minimal with no residual smoke expected following the burn.

Winston-Salem Fire, Forsyth County Fire Marshal's Office, Wake Forest University and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will assist with the prescribed burning operation.

Prescribed fire remains one of the most effective forest management practices, helping North Carolina forests remain healthy and thrive.

To learn more about the benefits of prescribed fire, visit www.ncforestservice.gov/goodfire.

 

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Feb. 6, 2024

N.C. Forest Service planning prescribed fire operations for Clemmons Educational State Forest in Clayton


CLAYTON -- The N.C. Forest Service is planning to conduct prescribed fire operations in Clemmons Educational State Forest located in Clayton. These operations will be conducted as weather and conditions permit during February and March.

Prescribed fire is the carefully planned use of fire under strict, predetermined weather and fuel parameters to obtain specific management objectives. This critical tool remains one of the most efficient and cost-effective forest management practices, helping North Carolina forests remain healthy and thrive.

The goals of these specific prescribed fires are to benefit the forest environment by improving wildlife habitat and the overall health of the forest while reducing vegetative fuels.

Visitors to the forest may see and smell smoke in the air during and after prescribed burn operations. While the forest will remain open to the public during prescribed burns, forest areas and trails near the burn areas may be closed. For more information about closures, contact the Clemmons ESF office at 919-553-5651.

To learn more about the benefits of prescribed fire, visit www.ncforestservice.gov/goodfire.

 

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Jan. 23, 2024

Surry County rangers with the N.C. Forest Service named recipients of the Moreland Gueth Water Quality Award


DOBSON -- N.C. Forest Service Surry County rangers Janet White and Elizabeth Edwards have been named recipients of the 2023 Moreland Gueth Water Quality Award. This award is presented annually to the N.C. Forest Service employee or team of employees who demonstrate creativity and dedication toward the protection of North Carolina’s water resources.

“Janet and Elizabeth have embraced water quality,” said Nancy Blackwood, district forester for NCFS District 10. “They both have a passion for clean water and are dedicated to improving the condition of logging jobs in Surry County to protect our streams from sedimentation and flow issues.”

Established in 2010, the Moreland Gueth Water Quality Award pays tribute to its namesake, who served as the N.C. Forest Service’s water quality and wetlands staff forester from 1995 to 2004. Gueth took a firm stance on protecting water quality, but remained fair and used a common-sense approach when working with loggers and landowners to keep forests working for North Carolina.

White began as assistant county ranger for Surry County in October 2019. By January 2020, White had been promoted to county ranger with Edwards becoming assistant county ranger in July 2020. Since then, the number of water quality inspections in Surry County have increased. In 2023, White and Edwards conducted 65 initial inspections for 1,697 acres.

Actions for protecting the quality of water resources include encouraging robust and effective streamside management zones (SMZs), working to advance the installation of erosion and sedimentation control measures and addressing concerns related to minimizing impacts from NCFS fire control operations. Surry County encountered two major wildfires in 2021 and 2022 with the Grindstone Fire in the fall of 2021 and the Gator Fire in the spring of 2022.

“The district quickly addressed rehabilitation needs as usual but it was Janet and Elizabeth who had to carry out the duties by working with N.C. State Parks and private landowners to stabilize the sites. Plans were made and rehabilitation was complete before erosion potential became an issue,” Blackwood said. “I have seen the water quality program in Surry County improve drastically through Janet and Elizabeth’s dedication to ensuring the streams in Surry County are protected.”

To learn more about water quality regulations, laws, guidance and best management practices to help keep forests working for North Carolina, visit www.ncforestservice.gov/water_quality/water_quality.htm.

 

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