WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — The University of North Carolina Wilmington is working with the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources to conduct a controlled burn of selected tracts (one to two burn units of 25-40 acres each) within the longleaf pine forest on the main campus. The burns are planned for Tuesday, as weather conditions are expected to be ideal that day, with Wednesday as a back-up.
The forest areas are primarily located on the northeast side of campus but a very small burn of less than one acre may also be conducted in the Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve, which is located near the Athletic Fields and east of the Fisher Student Union. The larger burn will be located north of Seahawk Landing, west of the new sewer easement that bounds the east side of campus, and south of Clear Run Creek. Specific locations, though in the areas described, are dependent on weather conditions.
The burn will be of low intensity and only on the ground, not in the trees, and is expected to last approximately half a day. All safety measures will be observed, with the burn conducted by the N.C. Division of Forest Resources with assistance from UNCW Landscape Services and public safety officials if needed.
Although the burn may cause smoke on campus and in nearby neighborhoods for a brief time period, weather conditions have been chosen that will best insure the smoke rises to minimize exposure. People with asthma or other bronchial conditions may wish to avoid being outdoors for long periods of time in the area of the controlled burn. Campus academic buildings closest to the burn sites are the Education, Nursing and Cultural Arts buildings.
A controlled burn is designed to decrease the chances of a more intense and hazardous wildfire by destroying the fuel load of the accumulated layer of leaf litter. The controlled burn will also improve the health of the longleaf pine forest, which is a fire-dependent ecosystem.