MARSTON — The heavy smoke seen in the northern section of Richmond County is from a prescribed fire.
The controlled burn is on 200 acres off Beaverdam Church Road, which runs behind Rockingham Dragway, according to Ranger Brandon Van Buren with the N.C. Forest Service.
According to a fact sheet from the Forest Service, prescribed fires are “an important, and often low-cost, forest management tool that may be appropriate to use throughout the life cycle of forests. Prescribed fire benefits forests and wildlife, and helps reduce the impact of wildfire hazards in North Carolina.”
Controlled burns are used for:
- hazard reduction – to reduce brush that fuels wildfires
- Wildlife and silviculture – to help manage forest lands by “mimicking low-intensity fires
- Site preparation – clearing land for construction
Van Buren said Tuesday’s fire is for hazard reduction and silviculture.
There was a similar controlled burn in the same area in May of 2022.
Forest Service records show there were six wildfires on private or state-owned property on Feb. 13 that burned 1.5 acres. Four of those fires were in District 3, which also includes Anson, Chatham, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Scotland and Stanly counties.
So far this year, 532 fires have burned 1124.2 acres across the state, records show. Last year, 6,099 fires burned 20,126 acres.