TUPELO, MS – Natchez Trace Parkway will conduct several prescribed fires in Mississippi over the next two months. As soon as Friday, January 29, fire crews will start burning areas that they have prepared over the winter months. During prescribed fire operations, smoke warning signs will be placed along the Parkway as a precaution.
Motorists should reduce speed significantly when smoke is visible in the area. Reduce speed to a maximum of 30 mph, turn on headlights, and stay alert. 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 (150 m), the Parkway may be temporarily closed until smoke has cleared. Some smoke may be visible for several days after initial prescribed fire operations.
National Park Service staff and cooperating agencies will work in the following areas:
- Witchdance West, Milepost 234, Chickasaw County
- Hernando de Soto, Milepost 244, Chickasaw County
- Tockshish, Milepost 250, Pontotoc County
- Lakeside, Milepost 260, Lee County
- Blackbelt Overlook, Milepost 252, Lee County
- Chickasaw Village, Milepost 262, Lee County
- Headquarters, Milepost 266, Lee County
- Twentymile Overlook, Milepost 278, Lee County
- Tishomingo State Park, Milepost 304, Tishomingo County
Prescribed fires help to restore the native prairie and open woodlands, as well as reduce hazardous fuels that could burn in a wildfire. It 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. Current conditions and alerts on Natchez Trace Parkway can be found at nps.gov/natr/planyourvisit/conditions.htm