Vicksburg National Military Park conducting prescribed burns this week

Published 2:36 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The National Park Service will conduct prescribed fires to manage vegetation in select areas of the Vicksburg National Military Park this week.

The fires were scheduled to begin Wednesday, Jan. 31, and continue through Friday, Feb. 2, dependent upon favorable weather conditions.

Areas for prescribed fires will include large grassy areas in the South Loop, near the Illinois Memorial and Shirley House; the western slope of Fort Hill; along Graveyard Road; and at Thayer’s Approach. The area of prescribed burns will include approximately 133 acres.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am

National Park Service fire crews from the Mississippi River Fire Management Zone based in Tupelo and Vicksburg National Military Park staff will help conduct the burns.

Prescribed fires allow fire managers to conduct a safe burn under optimal conditions, with sufficient resources available to meet specific objectives for the management of battlefield resources.

The objectives are to maintain the conditions of the battlefield as experienced by the soldiers who fought here; perpetuate the open space character of the landscape; maintain wildlife habitat, control invasive exotic species; reduce shrub and woody species components and reduce fuels in wooded areas to reduce fire hazard.

No prolonged road closures are anticipated, although smoke from the fires might reduce visibility to a level that would require a temporary closure of some areas to ensure public and firefighter safety.

On the days of the burns, runners and walkers are encouraged to use alternate routes due to the potential for smoke.

Up-to-date information on closures and fire activity will be posted on the park’s social media sites.

The timing of the prescribed fires is dependent on conditions within required weather parameters such as wind, temperature and relative humidity.

The prescribed fires will be conducted from approximately late morning through the afternoon, followed by patrol and monitoring to ensure the fire is completely out.

A combination of hoses, mowed areas and fire engines will be used to create a buffer and fire break to protect monuments and other cultural resources.

National Park Service staff will monitor air quality and smoke impacts as well as visibility on nearby roads.