If you see smoke Thursday coming from Warrior Mountain in MD, know its a prescribed burn

13 March 2024- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conduct a controlled burn on Warrior Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Allegany County between March 14 and March 29 as weather and other conditions allow. Smoke will be visible in the area north of Oldtown, and residents and visitors should be aware that this is not a wildfire.  

Access to the wildlife management area at Ruby Road will be limited during the burn due to potential low visibility due to smoke, but will reopen as soon as the burn is completed. 

The fire will be a low controlled flame targeting underbrush and ground cover debris. The purpose of the burn is to improve habitat for wildlife and to restore stands of pitch pine and improve oak regeneration. 

“The flames will help control undesirable understory and improve food for wildlife and help a new generation of seedlings to grow,” said Rick Latshaw, habitat manager for DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service. “Other benefits of the burn include improving regeneration of oak trees and reducing fuel to lower wildfire risks.”

DNR staff will direct the burn and trained wildland firefighters and wildland fire trucks and other equipment will be present to ensure safety and efficiency. Firelines will be established before the burn. There are no homes or other structures nearby the controlled burn area. 

DNR oversees dozens of controlled fires annually to manage Maryland woodland areas. Controlled burns, also called prescribed burns, have become an increasingly common strategy for land management and wildfire prevention.