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Park Service to set controlled fire in Wolf Trap National Park this month

A prescribed fire will be set in the circle outside Wolf Trap National Park’s Filene Center (via Wolf Trap National Park/Facebook)

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts might catch fire later this month.

No, the Original Kings of Go-Go, this summer season’s opener, isn’t rolling into town ahead of schedule. Instead, the National Park Service plans to conduct a “small prescribed fire” in the circular driveway in front of the Filene Center, according to a news release.

Expected to take place the week of March 14 or 21, depending on the weather, the fire is intended to control woody and invasive species and preserve the wildlife habitat, the federal agency says. It will be only the second-ever prescribed fire at the park, following a successful burn in April 2018.

NPS says the fire will spread over less than 1 acre of land.

“The safety of park staff and visitors is our top priority, along with protecting the iconic Filene Center,” Wolf Trap’s Acting Superintendent Ken Bigley said. “We will only conduct the prescribed fire if conditions are appropriate. Fire allows for the native vegetation to flourish along with improving the habitat for wildlife.”

According to NPS, the park’s public areas and trails near the circle, Stage Road, and Lot 4 parking lot will be closed “for several hours” during the fire. Additional, temporary road closures might be required if smoke reduces visibility.

Here’s more from NPS on how the fire will work:

Many factors must align to conduct a prescribed fire and ensure public and firefighter safety. The timing of the prescribed fire is dependent on weather conditions being within required wind, temperature, and relative humidity parameters. Wildland fire engines, firefighters, and the nearby paved road serve to create buffers and fire breaks to ensure the fire is contained. NPS staff will monitor air quality and smoke impacts. Upon completion of the fire activity, wildland firefighters will continue to monitor the area to ensure the fire is completely out.

Photo via Wolf Trap National Park/Facebook

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