ELKINS, W.Va. — Monongahela National Forest has finished its three prescribed burns across Greenbrier, Pendleton and Pocahontas counties.

The 1,000 acres of land were subjected to prescribed burns as part of “fire’s natural role in the forest ecosystem, improve forest health and wildlife habitat, and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires.”

On top of helping the forests to grow healthy, the burns also help wildlife such as the endangered Indiana bat by “providing snags for roosting in summer and encouraging flowering plants which attract bugs the bats like to eat.”

“Fall is a good time to do a prescribed burn,” said Aaron Kendall, fire management officer for Monongahela National Forest. “Prescribed burning when conditions are right produces a slower moving burn and, in addition to providing ecological benefits, helps to reduce leaf litter and other hazardous fuels.”

A more open forest floor is favored by many species native to the area as well.

Firefighters from Monongahela National Forest were assisted by the following groups:

  • Bureau of Land Management, Rock Springs District (Wyoming)
  • Bureau of Land Management, Southern Nevada District (Nevada)
  • Cimarron Hills Fire Protection District (Colorado)
  • Harpers Ferry Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center (West Virginia)
  • National Park Service, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (West Virginia)
  • South Arkansas Fire Protection District (Colorado)
  • USDA Forest Service, Klamath National Forest (California)
  • USDA Forest Service, Olympic National Forest (Washington)

Below are maps and photos of the prescribed burns: