(U.S. Forest Service)–Local residents who live near the Daniel Boone National Forest may see smoke over the next several weeks.Forest Service fire management officials are conducting controlled burns to reduce forest ground fuels and improve wildlife habitat. The fuel reduction burns reduce leaf litter and woody debris on the forest floor, which can contribute to uncontrolled wildfires. For wildlife, the burns will promote the growth of native grasses and shrubs that many species depend on for food and protective cover.
Unlike wildfires, controlled burns are set under specific weather conditions within established fire boundaries, which may include roads, streams or constructed fire lines prepared in advance.
A detailed plan is written for each burn unit that “prescribes” burning requirements. The burn plan requires a specified range for temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and wind direction. The plan also considers the proximity of private residences, businesses and roads to minimize smoke impacts.
Depending on weather conditions, upcoming controlled burns are planned in Jackson, Laurel, McCreary, Pulaski, Rowan and Whitley counties.
Anyone with questions about smoke in their area may call the nearest Forest Service office during business hours on Monday through Friday. Local fire and emergency officials are also made aware of controlled burns before they are set.