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Charlotte, NC- Governor Perdue has declared the week of Feb 13-19, 2012, Prescribed Fire Awareness Week in North Carolina.

“Prescribed fires” are controlled fires that are conducted to protect the public, and sustain forestlands, by reducing the likelihood of much larger wildfires caused by the buildup of dangerous fuel – such as brush and shrubs. These low-intensity fires also serve as a means for managing endangered species, reducing non-native plant species, enhancing wildlife habitat, and increasing biological diversity.

“Prescribed Fire Awareness Week gives us an opportunity to educate the public of the many benefits of prescribed fire in our natural areas,” said Crista Rogers, a natural resources coordinator at Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation. “Due to the wildland-urban interface that Mecklenburg County faces, there are many residential areas that are adjacent to our nature preserve where prescribed fire is implemented, and this is the time of year when we like to reach out to those residents.”

In Mecklenburg County, nearly 200 acres are burned each year – mostly occurring in the Mountain Island Lake area outside the Charlotte city limits. Burns are usually conducted in early spring during periods of low relative humidity. Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation manages more than 7,000 acres of nature preserves and has three North Carolina Certified Burners on staff.

For more information on NC Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, contact the Natural Resources Section at 704-948-4504.