CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Monongahela National Forest is planning controlled burns for more than 3,000 acres of land during the fall and winter seasons according to a press release sent on Tuesday.

While that may sound like a lot of fire, keep in mind that the entire Monongahela National Forest comprises more than 900,000 acres, and these burns will be conducted over the course of several weeks. According to the press release, areas in Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Grant, Tucker and Pendleton counties will undergo controlled burns as weather permits.

“These treatments will help re-establish fire’s natural role in the forest ecosystem, improve forest health and wildlife habitat, and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires,” the release said.

Just this year, wildfires blazed across Canada; In July, the Associated Press reported that a record-breaking 8.8 million acres of forest were lost as a result of the fires. The fires were so severe that smoke made it into West Virginia, with air quality in Clarksburg and Morgantown being labeled as “very unhealthy” in June.

Below you can find a list of each area designated for a controlled burn as well as a map of the north and south zones of the Monongahela National Forest During the burn period these areas will be closed to the public and signs will be posted in and around the areas before and during the burn.

Prescribed burns and pile burns planned for the north zone of the national forest include:

  • Guinn Ridge Prescribed Burn, 1,462 acres, Pocahontas County
  • Ramshorn Ridge Prescribed Burn, 1,005 acres, Pocahontas County
  • Nursery Bottom Prescribed Burn, 54 acres, Tucker County
  • Mower-Glover Range Allotment Pile Burn, Pendleton County
  • Smokehole-Champ Range Allotment Pile Burn, Grant County

Prescribed burns and pile burns planned for the south zone of the national forest include:

  • Rucker Gap Prescribed Burn, 384 acres, Greenbrier County
  • Meadow Creek Unit 1 Prescribed Burn, 139 acres, Greenbrier County
  • Meadow Creek Unit 2 Prescribed Burn, 109 acres, Greenbrier County
  • Lake Sherwood Dam Prescribed Burn, 4 acres, Greenbrier County
  • Marlinton Pile Burn, Pocahontas County
  • Gay Sharp Range Allotment Pile Burn, Pocahontas County
  • Beale-Hacking Range Allotment Pile burn, Pocahontas County

The Monongahela National Forest said that residents may see and smell smoke for several days during and after a burn. If you run into smoke while driving, forest officials advise that you slow down, turn on your vehicle’s lights and drive appropriately for the conditions.

  • Monongahela National Forest northern Fall/Winter 2023 burn map (Courtesy Monongahela National Forest)
  • Monongahela National Forest southern Fall/Winter 2023 burn map (Courtesy Monongahela National Forest)