Chris Schulz Published

New River Gorge National Park Plans Grassland Burn

Flames roll off of a grassy embankment on the side of a road. In the background can be seen a structure.
A previous controlled burn at Sandstone Visitor Center
Courtesy of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Fire Managers plan to burn approximately five acres in the coming weeks. 

This planned fire, also called a prescribed burn, is intended to maintain native grassland habitat that provides food and nesting space for birds and other wildlife. It also discourages the spread of invasive species.

The burn will take place sometime between Feb. 19 and March 31, based on weather conditions such as wind speed, direction and humidity. Before implementing the burn, the fire manager will evaluate current conditions and will only begin ignition if the prescribed conditions are within those parameters. 

The prescribed burn area is located just north of I-64, and Route 20 interchange (Exit 139). The Sandstone Visitor Center and parking lot will be closed during the burn but will reopen after completion and safety clearance. Travelers on Summers County Rt. 7, Meadow Creek Road, may experience temporary delays during firing operations and smoke will be visible for a short duration. The burn is expected to take several hours to complete.