Controlled burns underway in George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

Controlled burns happen annually to manage the forests

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Work continues to burn thousands of acres of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests.

As of Monday, about 1,300 acres had been burned.

Most recently, about 300 acres in and around Gatewood Park in Pulaski County were burned.

This was the first time the U.S. Forest Service worked together with the Virginia Department of Forestry and the county on a prescribed burn.

“We want to manage the forest with a prescribed burn in order to reduce fuels that might put structures or other homes or other resources at risk in addition to actually changing the diversity of the forest in favor of wildlife food sources," U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Dan McKeague said.

“So far, we’re liking what we’re seeing," firefighter Collin Calhoun said of the fire burning around Gatewood Park. "It’s actually not burning quite as well up in the forest as we’d like it to.”

The U.S. Forest Service hopes to burn 7,000 acres this season.