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National Park Service plans prescribed fire at Antietam National Battlefield

Sharpsburg, Md.  – The National Park Service (NPS) is preparing for a prescribed fire at Antietam National Battlefield between March 26 and April 5, 2019. These dates may be extended depending upon weather conditions. The 13-acre planned fire will be on the historic Otto and Sherrick Farm fields.

The goals of this burn are to maintain historic landscapes, enhance the growth of native grasses and reduce hazardous fuel accumulations.

“This prescribed fire will help us restore the battlefield’s historic views and will reduce the risk of future fires,” Antietam National Battlefield Superintendent Susan Trail said. “Safety is our top priority, and we will only conduct the prescribed fire if conditions are appropriate.”

Many factors must be in place to conduct a prescribed fire and ensure public and firefighter safety. The timing of the prescribed fire is dependent on wind, temperature and relative humidity. Firefighters will create buffers and firebreaks to contain the fire.

NPS staff will monitor air quality and smoke impacts, including visibility on nearby roads. Following the active burn, wildland firefighters will patrol the area to ensure the fire is completely out.

During the prescribed fire event, the Final Attack Trail and the lower half of the Three Farms Trail passing through the Sherrick Farm will be closed to the public. Updates regarding closures will be posted on the park website and Facebook page.

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