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NPS plans controlled burn at Sandstone Visitors Center

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — If you happen to observe a wildfire in the area of the Sandstone Visitors Center in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in the coming weeks, don’t panic.

The National Park Service has announced plans for a controlled burn on the property of the visitor’s center sometime between now and March 31st. The date of the fire will all depend on conditions such as wind speed and direction, humidity and other factors.

The burn area will be north of the I-64 and Route 20 interchange and should take several hours. During the burn, the visitors center will be closed along with the parking lot, but will reopen as soon as the safety clearance is made.

Park Service officials say the burn is aimed at eliminating invasive species in order to maintain the native grassland habitat on the property. The area serves as a food source and nesting space for a number of birds and other wildlife.

The fire may cause temporary travel delays and for short periods of time will create heavy smoke in the area of the local roadways. It’s not expected to impact travel on the interstate.

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