WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (WDTN) – You may see flames and smoke at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Friday, but base officials say not to worry.
Officials from the 88th Civil Engineer Group Natural Resources Program said two prescribed burns totaling approximately 30 acres at the base will be conducted Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as long as weather conditions remain favorable.
The first burn will begin at 10 a.m. at the field off State Route 235, between the old and new Gate 26A. This area is part of Wright-Patterson AFB but it located outside the installation’s fence.
The second burn will begin at 1 p.m. at the Huffman Prairie.
People near Wright-Patterson AFB will likely see columns of smoke throughout the area. The smoke is forecasted to disperse in a north-east direction. Base firefighters will assist in conducting and managing the burn.
Base officials said the burn season began Nov. 1, 2019 and ends March 15, 2020. So far this season the weather has not been favorable to allow any prescribed burns to be conducted.
Prescribed Burns are used to maintain and enhance the health of ecosystems, according to an informational pamphlet provided by the base Natural Resources Program. Potential fire hazards exist as the result of dead vegetation accumulation, which can be reduced by burning areas on a two- to five-year rotational basis. Burns help control the spread of woody and non-native species in habitats that can easily adapt to our climate and take over land. Consistent burning stimulates the growth of original and native species as well as eradicates the invasive species.
“Fire is a natural management tool that releases essential nutrients back into the soil, reduces the thatch layer and aids in reducing the fuel load which aids in controlling wildland fires,” said Darryn Warner, Natural Resources Program Manager. “Several rare species of plants and animals call Wright-Patterson AFB home and as land managers, we rely on several different management methods to enhance the habitat these species utilize,” Warner said.