Controlled burn on the Blue Mountain Saturday
Lehigh Gap Nature Center conducted a controlled burn on the Blue Mountain Saturday to control prairie grasses on the refuge.
The fire will encompass a 20-acre section of the grassland and be visible from Palmerton and from Route 248, just above the old Lehigh and New England Railroad bed.
A professional forestry and fire services company is conducting the prescribed burn, with area volunteer firefighters on hand to ensure that the fire does not escape its boundary area. They will also extinguish the fire completely after the burn as needed.
The fire is only be conducted when westerly winds are blowing to ensure that the fire cannot spread toward houses several miles to the west in East Penn Township.
To effectively manage the prairie grasses, the center, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tested prescribed fire as a management tool in 2013. A smoke study found that none of the metals that contaminate the soil was found in any smoke outside of the refuge boundaries.
Photo: COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS