Corps of Engineers announce prescribed burning at West Point Lake
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District at West Point Lake Project announced Monday that prescribed burning of selected timber stands around the reservoir is underway.
The burning will begin immediately once weather conditions are favorable, according to a news release from the Corps.
“Prescribed fire is an important forest management tool,” said Park Ranger Derrick Wilkerson, prescribed fire program coordinator at West Point Lake Project. “The overall purpose of the prescribed burns is to improve wildlife habitat, improve forest health, and reduce wildfire risks on public property.”
Each winter, the Corps at West Point Lake works with forestry commissions in Alabama and Georgia to conduct controlled burns for improvement of wildlife habitat and reduction of wildfire potential on the public property surrounding the reservoir.
“A total of more than 1,800 acres of public land are included in our burning plan for 2020,” Wilkerson said.
Areas for prescribed burning include:
- R. Shaefer Heard Day Use, Maple Creek Hunting area;
- Whitetail Ridge Hunting Area, Holiday Campground;
- Indian Springs, Horace King, Clark Park;
- Liberty Hill, Amity Campground, Stateline Hunting area; and
- Oakland Road Hunting Area, West Lake Hunting area in Hardley Creek Park
The Corps conducts prescribed burning for several reasons, according to a news release. First, the fire removes accumulated fuels, such as pine straw, leaves and dead, dry vegetation, which reduces the risk of intense wildfires.
Also, prescribed fires improve natural forest conditions by promoting seed germination, flowering, or sprouting of native plants.
Lastly, burning of the forest and under-story plants improves the forage quality and quantity for wildlife, such as deer, turkeys, quail, and other bird species. New shrub, herb and grass sprouts capture the quick flush of nutrients into the soil after a fire and are often more nutritious and palatable than older plants.
For more information, contact the West Point Lake Project Office at (706) 645-2937 or West_Point_Lake@usace.army.mil.