Prescribed Burn Coming to Hemlock Bluffs

Cary, NC — The Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, maintained by the Town of Cary will undergo its yearly prescribed burn between January and April 2021.

Prescribed Burn Planned for 2-5 Acres

Flora on display along the Swift Creek Trail of Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in April 2020.

Prescribed burns are part of the long-term fire management plan for keeping the bluffs fire-safe as it will help reduce the build-up of dead vegetation on the forest floors which can serve as fuel for wildfires. Given the registered State Natural Area status of Hemlock Bluffs, the Town is bringing in resources and experts from the NC Forest Service to carry out and supervise the burn.

The 2021 burn will measure 2-5 acres. Town staff will offer logistical assistance and a Town of Cary fire truck will be present on-site during the burn. While certain sections of select trails will close for the day, the preserve and Steven’s Nature Center will remain open and visitors are encouraged to enjoy as usual.

“Safety is our top priority, so trails will be well-signed and patrolled by natural resource managers and preserve staff as needed,” said Mark Johns, Operations and Program Supervisor at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve.

2021 Burn Will Be Weather-Dependent

The notification window of the burn may be only hours, depending on weather conditions. Citizens who wish to obtain more detailed information on the burn can contact Mark Johns via email.

More on the Practice of Prescribed Burns

Before and after photos of the 2020 prescribed burn in Hemlock Bluffs done in early March.

Wildfires are a common threat to structures in many areas of North Carolina, especially during drought and times of high winds. Prescribed burns are a proven and safe way to reduce fuel loads in forests and other areas.

Prescribed burns are also used to reduce competition, release seeds and add vital nutrients for many plants and animals. These burns promote the growth of many plants, including wild blueberry and huckleberry, which produce fruits eaten by birds and other wildlife.

Story from staff reports.

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