A prescribed burn on 62 acres within Gulf State Park is planned for mid-February through March 2013, weather permitting. Alabama State Parks, in partnership with the Alabama Forestry Commission and the cities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, will conduct the burn as part of a Pitcher Plant Bog/Longleaf Pine Management Plan. The burn will take place on two separate tracts of land located east of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.

Every effort will be made to ensure proper smoke management and safety of the surrounding areas during the burn period. The cities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores fire departments have been notified and will be on standby if needed.

The Pitcher Plant Bog/Longleaf Pine Management Plan at Gulf State Park is an ongoing restoration project in which alternate zones are burned on a three-year basis. Longleaf Pine habitat is crucial for the sustainability of various species including: bobwhite quail, whitetail deer, eastern wild turkey, eastern indigo snake, gopher tortoise and the Bachman’s sparrow.

Prescribed fire is a safe way to apply a natural process that benefits various habits, reduces wildfire risk and ensures ecosystem health. Regular prescribed burns of fire-tolerant longleaf pine forests helps to eliminate competition from understory vegetation such as maple, gum, hickory and oak. Prescribed burns also help to fuel the growth of wildlife food sources such as native grasses, wildflowers and forbs. To learn more about prescribed fire in Alabama, visit the Watchable Wildlife section of outdooralabama.com.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com .

###