TUPELO, MS – Natchez Trace Parkway will conduct several small prescribed fires (controlled burns) in the Tupelo area during the month of December 2020. All fires will be small scale and limited to mid-day burning to help mitigate any potential smoke impacts.
During prescribed fire operations, smoke warning signs will be placed along the parkway as a precaution. Motorists should reduce speed to a maximum of 30 miles per hour with headlights on when smoke is in the roadway and should reduce speed significantly when smoke is in visible in the area. There may be short term closures of trails and picnic sites during the burns. Please be aware of park rangers, firefighting personnel, and equipment along the roadway and mow line. If visibility falls below 500 feet, the parkway may be temporarily closed until smoke has cleared. Some smoke may be visible for several days after initial prescribed fire operations have ended.
These prescribed fires will help to restore the native prairie and open woodlands, as well as reduce hazardous fuels that could burn in a wildfire. The two areas that National Park Service staff will be working are listed as follows:
- Headquarters Tupelo at milepost 266 in Lee County, MS
- Lakeside at milepost 260 in Lee County, MS
Prescribed fire is a cost-effective tool used to manage the forests and grasslands that encompass the Parkway. Prescribed fire reduces the buildup of dead woody material, decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfire, perpetuates fire dependent vegetation, reduces exotic vegetation, provides habitat and forage for animals, and restores the natural role of fire in a healthy ecosystem.
For more information about the Natchez Trace Parkway Fire Management program, please visit nps.gov/natr/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm. For information, current conditions and alerts on Natchez Trace Parkway go to nps.gov/natr/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.