BANDY CREEK — The National Park Service has announced several prescribed burns that will be conducted in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area Tuesday and Wednesday.
The burns — five in total — will encompass about 82 acres in Tennessee and Kentucky.
On the Tennessee site, planned burns include the Burke Fields off S.R. 297, consisting of 20.7 acres, and the Dewy Blevins & Gar Blevins Field, consisting of 5.8 acres.
On the Kentucky site, planned burns include the Monroe Field, at 24 acres, and the Ledbetter fields, totaling more than 30 acres.
The park service uses prescribed burns to reduce the spread of exotic plants and to promote the regrowth of native species.
Prescribed burns also reduce the risk of wildfires by eliminating forest fuels that have accumulated — dried leaf matter, dead tree limbs, and underbrush.
The burns are only conducted when weather conditions cooperate. Among them are temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture and wind speed. When relative humidity and fuel moisture are too low and wind speed is too high, fires spread too easily for prescribed burning conditions to be safe. When humidity and fuel moisture are too high, fires do not burn well and create more smoke pollution.