Monroe County controlled burn used to limit uncontrollable wildfires

Smoke seen from the controlled burn in Maryville. Photo courtesy: Eric Graham

MONROE COUNTY (WATE) – A controlled fire is being handled by the Tennessee Division of Forestry near Tellico Planes and Citico in Monroe County according to the Madisonville Fire Department.

According to the Monroe County Emergency Services facebook page, the control burn is set to cover an estimated 2500 acres in the Jake Best area of Citico.

Paul Varnadoe is working with Aerial Ignition on this controlled burn within the Cherokee National Forest. He says these types of prescribed, or planned, burns like this take 5-10 years of planning.

Even then, controlled burns still only happen if the weather is just right.

“Every year we go through that 5-10 year plan, we have to go through that planning process, addressing the public.” said Varnadoe.

Varnadoe says controlled burns are necessary to lower the risk of wildfires, but also, can be beneficial to the forest ecosystem.

“If it’s done correctly it’s very beneficial to the ecosystem. It’s a great tool to use to help us in suppressing fire but it has the added benefit of it helps the forest itself be more resilient to fire in the future.” said Varnadoe.

There are two seasons that are considered when making the decision about controlled burns. The dormant season, which lasts Fall to Winter and the growing season which starts in early Spring and lasts until late Summer.

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