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Prescribed Burns in the Allegheny Highlands of Virginia

The Big Wilson burn was the largest collaborative burn between The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Forest Service; photo by Bobby Clontz.
Partners within the Allegheny Highlands landscape of the Appalachian Fire Learning Network had a successful year of controlled burns on over 6,400 acres. The partnership – consisting of The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and others – works to restore the historic role of fire to oak- and pine-dominated ecosystems throughout the region to benefit a diversity of avian species dependent on forest structural and compositional heterogeneity. This year’s accomplishments included completion of 4,500 acres of the Big Wilson burn, a unit within the 18,000-acre Warm Springs Mountain Restoration Project that spans parts of the George Washington National Forest and the Conservancy’s Warm Springs Mountain Preserve. Culminating in several years of planning and coordination, this burn was among the largest ever conducted in Virginia and has been the largest collaborative burn between The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service anywhere in the country.