Controlled burns planned in Franklin, Shelby wildlife areas

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Portions of two central Kentucky wildlife management areas will be closed for two days toward the end of October as managers conduct prescribed burns to improve forest and grassland health and enhance habitats preferred by native wildlife.

Burns are planned on a 506-acre section of the Taylorsville Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Spencer County and on 130 acres of the John A. Kleber WMA in Franklin County as part of ongoing hardwood forest improvement projects.

The burns will be conducted on a weekday between Oct. 18 and Oct. 29 when burning conditions are optimal from both environmental and safety standpoints. Exact dates are not known at this time.

Managers will take into consideration wind, air temperature, relative humidity, soil moisture and other factors before determining when to conduct the burns. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will post an update on its website (fw.ky.gov) and Twitter (@kyfishwildlife) when the dates are set.

The prescribed fire areas will be closed to the public during the burns and reopen when active fire is no longer present in the units.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials, together with other partnering agencies, will conduct the Taylorsville Lake WMA burn north of KY 3228 on the Briar Ridge section of the WMA. The WMA and its shooting range will not be accessible via KY 3228 if traveling west from KY 248 during this time. Other public access to Taylorsville Lake and the remainder of the 9,418-acre WMA should not be affected.

At Kleber WMA, the burn will focus on the northwest side of KY 1707 (southwest of KY 368). Public access to the remainder of the 4,245-acre WMA should not be impacted.

Adjacent landowners are being notified of the planned burns, and the areas will be monitored until all fire, embers and smoke are extinguished.

Officials have a narrow window of time to conduct the burns this fall to achieve the desired results.

Prescribed fire is an efficient tool for habitat management. The management goals of the burns are to increase production of nuts and soft fruits and to enhance the regeneration of oaks. Burning sets back plant growth in fields and along edges, creates desirable open spaces on the ground’s surface by removing leaf litter, improves native grass composition within fields and helps control invasive plants.

Autumn is an optimal time for using fire to eradicate undesirable tree species, and to promote regeneration and growth of nut-producing trees such as oak and hickory.

For more information about prescribed burning, visit kyfire.org.

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