Dan Stamm

Prescribed Fires Burn at Valley Forge National Park

The National Park Service is burning about 135 acres as part of a prescribed burn to cut back on vegetation at Valley Forge National Historical Park

What to Know

  • Prescribed burns are targeting invasive vegetation at Valley Forge National Historical Park.
  • About 135 acres of the historical park will be burned Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • The public can view the burning fields at a series of locations.

Don’t be alarmed if you see smoke rising from Valley Forge National Historical Park this week.

The National Park Service (NPS) planned to ignite about 135 acres at the Revolutionary War site Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a prescribed burn to manage vegetation at the site. The fires are slated to start around 10 a.m. each day, weather permitting.

The fires are intended to burn a mixture of native and non-native plant species covering Field 1 and Field 23 in the Grand Parade area located between Gulph Road and Pennsylvania Route 23. The main targets are Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) and Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana), the NPS said. Meadows will be torched one at a time.

At least 14 workers in fire-resistant clothing from the NPS, other federal land management agencies and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry will take part in the prescribed burn within the high-priority section of the park. Montgomery and Chester county 911 centers as well as local police and fire departments were made aware of the fire plan.

The NPS says the historic features of the 3,500-acre park will remain safe and that the prescribed fire isn’t close to any adjacent neighbors.

“We will protect and monitor significant features during the prescribed fire,” the NPS said.

The NPS doesn’t expect the burn to be hot enough to harm smaller mammals, insects and reptiles hiding underground. In any case, each field is walked over to see if any wildlife needs relocated ahead of the fire, the NPS said. Officials don’t expect smoke to linger long after the fires.

The burn will cost around $20,250 at the NPS’ estimate of a $150 cost per acre.

The prescribed burn has become an annual spring tradition dating back to 2014.

National Park Service
A map of the places where the Valley Forge Park prescribed burn can be viewed. See Larger

The public can view the burns from Varnum’s Picnic Area and Artillery Park, portions of Joseph Plumb Martin Trail, Maurice Stephens House parking lot and Joseph Plumb Martin Trail along Route 23, the NPS said.

More information, including road and trail closures, is available on the park service's website.

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