The Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division conducts prescribed burning operations on Fort Bragg each year.

The burning is conducted during the dormant season from mid-November to mid-March and during the growing season from mid-March to the end of August. The prescribed burn plan for 2014 includes approximately 55,000 acres.

Prescribed burns are beneficial to the environment and to military operations at Fort Bragg for various reasons.

Dormant season burning reduces and controls the vegetation that fuels potentially damaging wildfires. Dormant season burning prevents brown spot disease in young, longleaf pine trees as well.

Growing season burning improves and maintains the diverse, longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem that was historically shaped by fires caused by lightning and the activities of early man.

Many native species, including the endangered red cockaded woodpecker, cannot exist without frequent growing season fires that preserve and enhance their habitats. Growing season burns also maintain forest health by suppressing thick underbrush and by opening the canopy for sun to reach the forest floor. The sun enables the new growth of wildflowers, native grasses and tender ground vegetation that is consumed by deer, quail and wild turkey.

Most importantly, both dormant and growing season burning creates an open and maneuverable landscape, thus enhancing the ever-vital training environment on Fort Bragg.

Prescribed burning will be conducted when weather conditions are most favorable to achieve the desired results.

In accordance with North Carolina Forestry Division smoke management guidelines, burns will be distributed throughout the installation. Every precaution will be used to minimize the impacts from smoke to sensitive areas and training operations.

For more information, contact Paul Hinkle, fire management officer at 396-2510. Visit Fort Bragg Forestry at www.bragg.army.mil/directorates/dpw/envdiv/forestry/Pages/default.aspx.