Prescribed burns in the Unaka Ranger District

A $5,000 grant from the NWTF assisted state wildlife agencies in conducting controlled burns in the Unaka Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest. Staff burned a total of 172 acres to create new habitat for wildlife.

“Prescribed burns are important because they … knock back some woody plant competitors and shrubs that are less desirable [for wildlife],” said Chris Coxen, NWTF district biologist. “Without prescribed burning, that [underbrush] gets really dense and not as much light gets on the ground.”

The burning has given new life to the forest floor, and this is all thanks to partnership.

“It’s another example of us helping our public agency partners get their goals accomplished, because sometimes they don’t have all the resources they might need,” Coxen said.

— Heiler Meek

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