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Prescribed Burn on the Booming Shoals Burn Unit near Powder Mill, Spring 2010. (NPS Photo)

(Van Buren) – Preparations are underway for Ozark National Scenic Riverways to accomplish several prescribed burns between early February and mid-April.

Officials say the timing of these prescribed burns is dependent on the weather and vegetation meeting certain conditions. During the prescribed burns, park operations will continue as usual.

In order to ensure the safety of firefighters and the public, foot and vehicle travel in or near the prescribed fire operations may be restricted. However, smoke may impair visibility in the vicinity of the prescribed burn and could linger low in the atmosphere over a broad geographic area. Individuals with respiratory ailments are encouraged to take extra precautions to avoid exposure to smoke. Anyone who is concerned about the potential impacts of smoke from a prescribed burn can request to be added to the park’s notification list in order to be contacted in advance.

The burns will be planned and monitored by the park’s Fire Management staff.

Prescribed burning has a variety of purposes, including the reduction of fuel accumulations near developed areas, which helps reduce the threat of unplanned wildland fires in and around Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Prescribed burning also improves the structure of forests and woodlands, and helps native species thrive.

For more information on the park’s burn plans and policies or to be included on the notification list in order to be contacted prior to prescribed burns, contact Fire Communication and Education Specialist Dena Matteson at 573-323-8028.

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