Prescribed burning plays a large role in sustaining the diverse ecosystem at the Savannah River Site.

The prescribed burning season is now under way at SRS, and hazard reduction is a farm management resource that assists in wildfire prevention, but it also helps to stimulate the growth of certain trees as part of the impacted area’s forest’s renewal. Wildfires were responsible for burning nearly 9 million acres of land nationwide in 2012.

The U.S. Forest Service-Savanah River Site will be conducting the prescribed burns this winter. An unpleasant scent was present in the area on Sunday evening, and it could be attributed to the prescribed burns.

The United States Forest Service-Savannah River fire managers are diligent and circumspect in making sure the smoke will be dispersed adequately to mitigate its impact. The Forest Service is part of the United States Department of Agriculture and has been involved in providing natural resource management service for more than six decades as part on an interagency agreement.

“The U.S. Forest Service-Savannah River carefully uses prescribed fires to protect site assets that support ongoing possible future missions,” said Karen Guevara, U.S. Department of Energy assistant manager for infrastructure and environmental stewardship – Savannah Riversite Operations, in a press release. “These fires are conducted in a way that assures the safety of the workers, facilities and the environment.”

The Department of Energy-Savannah River Site approves the annual prescribed fire plan prepared by the USFSSR. The controlled burns have aided in the continued success of the longleaf pine ecosystems, said Keith Lawrence, of USFSSR.