Blazes will be set in forest

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Incendiary devices dropped from helicopters will be used in a series of controlled fires next week on federal lands in McCormick County, S.C., controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service.

A total of 2,850 acres will be involved in the prescribed burning operation that will begin as early as Monday, depending on weather conditions, according to a synopsis provided by corps spokeswoman Jeanne Hodge.

The area includes 1,734 acres of corps land at Thurmond Lake and 1,093 acres within Sumter National Forest.

The helicopters will drop approximately 12,000 ping-pong-sized balls that ignite when landing on the forest floor. Forest Service personnel on the ground will ensure the fire is contained in the targeted area between McEntire Road at Goose Creek Farm and Leroy's Ferry Drive at Leroy's Ferry Campground.

"Prescribed fire, or a controlled burn, is an important tool used by the Corps and the Forest Service to manage the natural ecosystem and ensure the woodlands' health," said corps District Forester Ean Jones.

The joint project marks the first time the two agencies have partnered on a prescribed fire in this area because of steep gullies and rough terrain. Thanks to the partnership, several miles of fireline will not be needed, which is beneficial for the land and much safer for the firefighters.

"This burn benefits the forest by reducing accumulated natural fuels building up on the lands, thereby reducing the fire hazard to surrounding property owners and to resources on these Federal lands," Mr. Jones said. "By using the Thurmond reservoir as the southwestern end of the burn, we can more easily control the direction and coverage of the fire."

The Forest Service and corps routinely conduct prescribed fires when weather conditions are most likely to reduce the risk of escaped fire and smoky conditions. Mr. Jones said motorists or residents near the burn might see smoke columns or experience reduced visibility in low-lying areas.

For more information, contact Mr. Jones at (864) 333-1114 or toll free at (800) 533-3478, or call William Crolly, with the U.S. Forest Service, at (803) 561-4000.

Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222 or

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robyn240 03/22/09 - 10:18 am
what about all of the animals

what about all of the animals that live in the forest?!!

Bacon Grease
Bacon Grease 03/22/09 - 11:08 am
Bambicue anyone?

Bambicue anyone?

scorehouse 03/22/09 - 02:33 pm
they will move to the other

they will move to the other part of the forest. this burn will provide sunlight to the forest floor so fresh vegetation can grow which provides food and cover for the smaller animals on the food chain. without sunlight reaching the ground, these forests become pine tree farms.

pizzato 03/22/09 - 03:55 pm
If the corp of engineers has

If the corp of engineers has anything to do with it you can plan on problems. They can't deal with water in the lake let alone fire I guess they have no supervision so the forest service has to get involved to make sure they don't mess this up to. Then again the camping sucks, the boating sucks, why not just burn it all down and start over with a clean slate. Perhaps this will not be another failure but it sounds too much like that episode of WKRP when they dropped turkeys out of a helicopter.

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