Monday, April 2, 2018

Controlled Burn Planned For Manassas Battlefield

If one day soon you see smoke by the Manasses Battlefield, don’t panic. Bandon Bies, the superintendent at Manassas National Battlefield Park has announces the Manassas National Battlefield Park . will conduct a scheduled burn between April 3-13, 2018. The timing is dependent on weather conditions being within required wind, temperature and relative humidity parameters to make sure that the National Park Service and Wildland firefighters can maintain control of the fire.

According to Superintendent Bies, the planned fire will be adjacent to the eastern edge of the Brawner Farm area and will cover 45 acres of open fields and scrub. A previous superintendent removed trees in that area where tremendous fighting occurred during the Second Manassas Battle as part of a plan to restore the Civil War landscape. Now to restore and maintain historic battlefield viewsheds, to maintain wildlife habitat, and to control invasive species Superintendet Bies is using controlled burns.

In recent years the National Park Service has opened up the Brawner Farm Center nine months of the year to focus on the story of Second Manassas. Both the battles were the largest engagements in the Western Hemisphere at the time they were fought. There were about 100,000 people at Second Manassas.

Controlled burns are considered a natural resource manager’s most cost-effective tool available for managing natural communities. They help control invasive shrubs and trees. Fire is used to clear the ground of existing vegetation in preparation of seeding and planting more desirable plant species. Burning allows the seeds to make better contact with the soil and therefore improves the chances of successful germination. Fire is used to reduce the competition between weedy species and native species as a restoration area matures to encourage better establishment of the native vegetation which slowly displaces the weeds. Controlled burning also returns nutrients to the soil, making them readily available for the next generation of vegetation growth.

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