Park service to burn 66 acres at Gettysburg National Military Park

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Gettysburg National Military Park fire managers are preparing for prescribed fires on two days in April, weather permitting. The plans call for burning 52 acres on the west slope of Little Round Top, and 14 acres at Pardee Field on Culp’s Hill.  Fuel and weather conditions must be within certain parameters and that will determine the exact dates each of the one-day prescribed fires.

Prescribed fire allows fire managers to conduct a safe burn under optimal conditions with sufficient resources available to meet specific objectives for the management of battlefield resources. Gettysburg’s overall objectives are to maintain the conditions of the battlefield as experienced by the soldiers who fought here; perpetuate the open space character of the landscape; maintain wildlife habitat, control invasive exotic species; reduce shrub and woody species components, and reduce fuels in wooded areas to reduce fire hazard.

Temporary Road Closures Planned: During the prescribed fire at Little Round Top, multiple roads will be closed for portions of the day including Sykes Avenue, Warren Avenue, Crawford Avenue, South Confederate Avenue, and Wright Avenue.  Wheatfield Road may be reduced to one-way traffic for parts of the day.  Little Round Top will have an area closure for pedestrians, hikers, etc. that may last for 2 or 3 days. The public may view the prescribed fire at Little Round Top from a designated area on Ayres Avenue.

During the prescribed fire at Pardee Field, Geary, Slocum, East Confederate, and Colgrove Avenues will be temporarily closed, mainly in the afternoon.

Additional roads, trails and areas may need to close temporarily if smoke conditions reduce visibility to a level that would require a temporary closure of limited areas to ensure public and firefighter safety. Up-to-date information on this and any other closures and fire activity will be posted on the park’s social media sites, using the hashtag, #GettysburgNPS.

The timing of the two prescribed fires is dependent on conditions being within required weather parameters such as wind, temperature, and relative humidity. The prescribed fires will be conducted from approximately late morning through the afternoon, followed by patrol and monitoring to ensure the fire is completely out.

A combination of lawn-sprinklers, hoses, mowed lines, and fire engines will be used to create a buffer and fire break to protect monuments and other cultural resources including identified witness trees in the burn area.  National Park Service staff will monitor air quality and smoke impacts as well as visibility on nearby roads.

More information including maps of the project areas and the park’s Fire Management Plan can be viewed on the park website, www.nps.gov/gett.

Gettysburg National Military Park preserves, protects and interprets for this and future generations the resources associated with the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, during the American Civil War, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and their commemorations.