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​Prescribed Fire in Mecklenburg County

Fire is a natural part of many ecosystems, including those found in Mecklenburg County. The disturbance created by periodic fire serves to rejuvenate habitat, removing accumulated fuels and creating room for new growth. These effects help maintain high levels of biodiversity and provide many benefits to native flora and fauna.

Natural fires in developed areas are usually quickly extinguished for safety reasons. This 
policy of fire suppression has been around for generations, as unchecked fire (wildfire) can be quite destructive. However, this policy means that the natural areas which once relied on the periodic disturbance of wildfire for rejuvenation have slowly been altered.

Today land managers use prescribed fire to mimic the natural disturbance caused by the natural fires of years ago. These fires are carefully planned and conducted under specific weather conditions to achieve specific goals. In this way fire can safely be used as a management tool.


The Natural Resources Department routinely uses prescribed fire on county property to achieve management goals. Some burns are conducted to facilitate tree planting or reduce ​coverage of invasive species. Others are conducted to reduce hazardous fuel buildups, improve wildlife habitat, or provide benefit to fire-dependent ecosystems.
Briefing.jpg The burns are conducted to mimic natural disturbances as closely as possible.

Careful planning and preparation for each burn ensure that the fire is safely contained and the resulting smoke disperses. Cooperation with the county Fire Marshal and the N.C. Forest Service helps keep air quality standards high as well.

Keep an eye out for prescribed fire activity in a Nature Preserve near you. You may notice smoke, road signs, or even see staff in the midst of conducting a burn. If you look closely you may even notice evidence of past fires. This is all part of the active management strategy used to maintain and protect the natural resources of Mecklenburg County.


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