Dan Stamm

Prescribed Fires to Burn at Valley Forge National Park

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

The National Park Service (NPS) planned to ignite about 150 acres at the Revolutionary War site from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday as part of a prescribed burn to manage vegetation at the site.

The fires are intended to burn a mixture of native and non-native plant species covering five fields located between Gulph Road and Route 23. The main targets are Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius) and Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana), the NPS said. The fields 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 prescribe burn within the high-priority Grand Parade section of the park. Montgomery County 911 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’ll be protecting and monitoring 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 $22,500 at the NPS’ estimate of a $150 cost per acre.

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

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