Skip to Main Content

Controlled Burn Planned for Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Smoke May Be Visible from Nearby Highways

Photo of wooded area

Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Allegany County. Maryland DNR photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conduct a controlled burn on Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area on a date to be set in December as weather and other conditions allow. Residents or drivers who see smoke in the area southwest of Rawlings should be aware that it may appear to be a forest fire, but is deliberate and controlled and there is no need to report it to authorities.

The fire will create smoke but it will be a controlled flame targeting underbrush and ground cover debris. Access to the wildlife management area at its primitive camping area and at Middle Ridge Road will be limited during the burn, due to potential for low visibility, but will reopen as soon as the burn is completed.

Photo of fireman conducting a controlled burn

Maryland DNR staff conducting a prescribed burn at Idylwild Wildlife Management Area in 2018. Maryland DNR photo by Stephen Badger

The purpose of the burn is to improve habitat for wildlife and to restore stands of pitch pine and table mountain pine that are more than 90 years old. 

“The flames will open up the pine cones which provide food for wildlife, and help a new generation of seedlings to grow,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Habitat Manager Rick Latshaw said. “Numerous other benefits such as reduced wildfire fuel and improved regeneration of oak are also goals of the burn.”

DNR will conduct the burn with trained wildland firefighters and equipment present to assure safety and efficiency. Adequate firelines will be established before the burn. There are no homes or other structures nearby. 

The prescribed burn will only take place if weather conditions are favorable during this three-week window. When the date is determined, DNR will issue further advisories through various media.