Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Minutes of January Council Meeting

Photo by Allison Cochran

The Winston County met on January 19, at the U. S. Forest Service Office.  Present were Kerri Roberts, Jeremy McDonald, John Creed, Mike Henshaw, Travis McDonald, Andy Baril, Matt Brock, and Allison Cochran.  The following topics were discussed:
  • Kerri mentioned the 4-H Round up in May, and possibility of having a Firewise segment for the parents and volunteers present.
  • Jeremy brought up the Payne Demo area and the Junior Ranger program and a Firewise program for that event.
  • After the passage of a constitutional amendment, State Lands property in Winston County will be transferred to the Winston County Board of  Education.  Andy, Mike, and Kerri have a meeting scheduled to learn about the board's plans for the property, and to offer any assistance that may be beneficial.
  • Andy gave an update on the Outreach Symposium and Awards Banquet in Tuscaloosa on February 17.  Several members are planning on attending including Andy, Mike, Mr. Godsey, Allison, Jeremy, and Jason Harris (the newly hired F. S. Silviculturist).
  • Jessica Blackwell is finishing up a stint as Acting Ranger on the Bankhead, and Andy Scott will be the next Acting Ranger.
  • Reviewed 2016 rainfall data, which showed only approximately 44 inches vs a normal total of about 55 inches.
  • Jeremy reported on current fire conditions.
  • Matt said that he would soon be receiving a new $7,000 hog trap that would demonstrate a wireless camera that can monitor the trap via a cell signal.  He can also remotely activate the trap at the moment when the entire sounder can be captured.  The trap can be used to assist private landowners with feral hog damage.
  • Matt added that NRCS funds are only available to adjacent landowners that agree to work together to control hogs.  
  • A Shortleaf Pine Workshop will be held on January 27, at Monte Sano, from 9-12.  More info at this link.
  • There was tornado damage to timber in several areas in Winston County due to the November 29 storms.  Several landowners are working to salvage damaged timber stands.
  • Pine beetle activity seems to be on the increase in Winston County.  Jeremy reported on some higher beetle trap counts.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary
WCNRC

Thursday, January 19, 2017

News Release - National Forests in Alabama - Forest Service Implements Controlled Burns


For Immediate Release                                            
                               
 

USDA Forest Service Implements Controlled Burns in Alabama’s National Forests


(Montgomery, Al)  January 19, 2017 ---- USDA Forest Service federal fire specialists will intentionally conduct controlled burns on approximately 91,500 acres of the Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee National Forests during the next six months. The land management plan requires the Forest Service to use prescribed fire as a management tool to improve forest health. The controlled burn or “good fire” is carefully planned to provide many benefits for wildlife and reduces the accumulation of forest undergrowth that can become a wildfire threat if untreated.


Controlled burns take place annually only if weather conditions are favorable. During this time, the public may see smoke, additional Forest Service personnel and equipment near project areas.  The Forest Service is asking the public to use their low beam lights and watch out for uniformed Forest Service personnel. At times, visibility may be reduced because of smoke settling at night in low lying areas.


Maps that highlight controlled burn areas can be viewed on our website at www.fs.usda.gov/alabama under the Know Before You Go section. If you have questions about the following prescribed burns, contact a Forest Service district office:

•Bankhead Forest is planning to burn 15,000 acres in Winston and Lawrence Counties, call the office at (205) 489-5111.

• Conecuh Forest is planning to burn 20,000 acres in Escambia and Covington Counties, call                       (334) 222-2555.

•Talladega Forest- Talladega and Shoal Creek Districts are planning to burn 35,000 acres in Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne and Talladega Counties, call the Heflin office at (256) 463-2272 or the Talladega office at (256) 362-2909.

•Talladega Forest - Oakmulgee District is planning to burn 20,000 acres in Bibb, Dallas, Perry, Tuscaloosa, Hale and Chilton Counties, call (205) 926-9765.

•Tuskegee Forest is planning to burn 1,500 acres in Macon County, call (334) 727-2652.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, January 19, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Rain is a Gift to Firefighters as USDA Forest Service Lifts Fire Restrictions in Alabama’s National Forests

Firefighters debrief

Montgomery, AL (December 6, 2016) ---- The Forest Service announced today that the fire restrictions order for Alabama’s National Forests was terminated.  The much needed rain was a gift to firefighters that were battling large wildfires in the Talladega National Forest.  The fire restriction cancellation allows the public to build campfires in Forest Service recreation areas and throughout the Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee National Forests.
The Forest Service has reopened National Forest System Roads (NFSR) 637 and 637B in the Talladega National Forest about 3 miles west of Cheaha State Park and Cheaha Road.  The Pinhoti National Recreation Trail and NFSRs 680 and 691 are re-open about 8 miles east of Sylacauga.  Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area is closed for the season.
According to Talladega District Ranger Gloria Nielsen, all wildfires in the Talladega National Forest, Talladega District are either contained or controlled.  “We appreciate our federal, state and volunteer firefighters who were dedicated to protecting Alabama communities from devastating wildfires,” said Nielsen. “After the recent rainfall, burnout activities and extensive mop-up operations, we are finally able to re-open closed areas.”  Forest Service officials advise all forest visitors to be careful in the national forests, particularly during high wind events, since wildfires may have burned tree roots making live or dead trees hazardous.