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Controlled Burn at Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area Starts March 17

Smoke May Be Visible from Nearby Highways

Photo of crew conducting a controlled burn in a brush area

Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conduct a controlled burn on Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area this week. 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. Originally planned for late fall, the burn was rescheduled due to weather. 

The fire will create smoke, but it will be a controlled flame targeting underbrush and ground cover debris. Pre-burning is planned March 17 with the larger burn scheduled to take place March 18, and resume March 21 (weather permitting, rain may delay the burn).

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.

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. 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. 

Updates will be posted on the DNR website and social media platforms.